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Lianhe Zaobao | 15 December 2020 (Translated Text)

Drawing a Whole New World In Sickness

 

Serene's kidney failure continued to deteriorate, which led her to quit her job in October this year. During this period, she drew almost every day and shared her completed artworks on social media. Friends who appreciate her paintings helped to spread the word, and this unexpectedly opened up a new career for her. 

Whenever Serene felt irritable, her mind would be at ease as soon as she picked up her paintbrush. Painting is not just her hobby; it is her safe sanctuary, void of all distractions.

Serene (35 years old) was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus at the age of nine and had been plagued by diseases, including renal failure caused by the autoimmune disease. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, disrupting the lives of many people, and the tremendous pressure has exacerbated her condition. In the past year, her kidney function continued to deteriorate, and she is currently waiting for a kidney transplant.


She shared during the interview, “Dealing with the pandemic, moving houses and planning renovations, enrolling my daughter into primary school, having to adapt to working from home, home-based learning and worrying about my father’s health problems, etc., the accumulative events caused me immense stress. My kidney health was deteriorating, and I started to experience anxiety."

Serene loved and started painting since she was a child. She shared that not long before the outbreak, while she and her daughter were doing art at home, she picked up the brush and felt a great sense of peace while painting. During the Circuit Breaker period, she started to experience anxiety - her hands would tremble involuntarily, and she couldn't sleep well at night. So she took to painting to calm herself down.

Serene used to work in healthcare marketing, and she decided to leave her job in October this year. She wanted to focus on taking care of her health and well-being, and to focus on spending more time with her family. During this period, she drew almost every day and shared her completed artworks on social media. Friends who appreciate her paintings helped to spread the word, and this unexpectedly opened up a new career for her. 


The first person to buy a painting from her was a friend far away in Japan, followed by a stranger who requested for a custom artwork. Eventually, more orders came in. Now, she can complete an average of 15 works a month.

"Although what I earn from this business is much lesser than my corporate salary, the sense of satisfaction I achieve is immense. When customers provide open briefs and allow me to create anything I want, and the paintings and bible verses resonate greatly with the recipient, it's a magical feeling. "