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POSTER-FBThe Rui Cunha Foundation opened on May 22nd the Student Art Exhibition 2023 “Rebirth of a Cheerful Rabbit”, an event annually promoted by the Macau Association for Intellectual Development Services (MAIDS) – the former Macau Association for the Mentally Handicapped – to share with the public the amount of imagination and creativity in the work carried out by young people with varied intellectual difficulties.
This event is organized every year with the works of members from the associated Schools and Centers, which resulted this time in a total of 41 paintings and crafts, created by students from the Kai Chi School, the Kai Chi Initial Training Center, the Kai Lung Vocational Center, the Kai Hon Center and the “Sam Meng Chi” Snack House. The arts display is always joined by an internal competition – this year under the title “Let the Stars Shine on the Campus” –, to challenge the minds of the participants, whose prizes were also here presented to the winners.
There were 25 oil paintings and 5 three-dimensional works of art, in addition to the 11 prize-winning pieces from the adjacent competition, which included paintings, ceramics, handicrafts and collages, resulting from the ongoing MAIDS’s project of validation through art, for its communicative potential, and its ability to stimulate personal self-knowledge and to challenge the difficulties, stigmas and prejudices among these young people with special needs.
Founded in 1986, this institution offers early intervention services, special education, and day centers for didactic activities, as well as rendering employment support services for people with intellectual disabilities. At the same time, MAIDS has encouraged the learning of manual arts, as a way to develop emotional and behavioral skills through self-expression. These workshops offer children and young people an opportunity to manipulate materials, stimulating the exploration through alternative communication methods, which give them a sense of control of the creative environment.
By supporting and inspiring a free artistic creation space, the schools and centers associated with this project have been able to follow the growth of these students in terms of individual expression, improvement of social opportunities, greater self-esteem, well-being, and happiness. These feelings contribute to their mental health and the experience of a life with dignity, according to ASDIM.