by Erika Sua (P5 2020)
Like a placid river, the night was serene. I gazed out of the window as fond memories of my win in an art competition the day before flooded my mind …
It was a week ago when I saw a poster on the notice board in the school canteen – it was about an inter-class competition for talented artists with a jaw-dropping one thousand dollars worth of cash prizes up for grabs! As I thought about what I could buy with such a sizeable amount of money, my heart throbbed with exhilaration. I quickly gathered two of my friends, Jerome and Stacy, who each exuded an artistic bent. Our chatter resonated in the canteen as all three of us started brainstorming for ideas.
“Why don’t we paint a tribute picture of the late former Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew?” Stacy suggested, with a twinkle in her eyes. Although the rest of us agreed that it was a brilliant idea, we had our reservations.
“I hate to rain on your parade, Stacy. But we only have one week to prepare before the actual day of the competition. It is going to be quite a feat,” Jerome verbalised our thoughts, sounding somewhat defeated. “Alright, we have to get our act together since we only have one week to go before the competition. I am sure we will be able to do this if we work hard hand in hand …” I wasted no time in putting forth my view, realising that my buddies were in need of a pep talk to boost their morale. I was confident of giving our competitors a run for their money.
In the run-up to the competition, we went through dozens of portrait shots of Singapore’s ex-premier in order to find one which would best serve our need. We next practiced on perfecting our sketches and experimented with a whole gamut of paint mediums before finally settling on water colour as our medium of choice. “The translucent nature of the watercolours allows for more possibilities of expression,” Jerome opined; his infectious optimism gave us reason to soldier on against all odds.
Time flew by and waited for no man. On the day of the competition, although my friends and I appeared calm and collected, all of us were on pins and needles.
“You may begin!” A judge announced after all the teams had assembled in the competition hall. Jerome, Stacy and I started picking up our brushes and dipping them into respective colours. At precise moments, we switched places and exchanged brushes, adding layer after layer to each other’s deft strokes on the delicate canvas, demonstrating cohesiveness which was the envy of other teams.
When the time was up, we stood back and stared at our masterpiece. This was the result of our hard work – every brush stroke was an endeavour calculated to give life to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s vigour and determination in building our homeland.
The judges with mouth agape, gave us a unanimous thumbs-up upon looking at our artworks. When it was announced that we had been awarded top honours, “Oh my goodness, we really won!” Stacy cried and was on the brink of happy tears, as we marched up the stage to collect our trophy and prize money. I punched my fist victoriously in the air and embraced in celebrations.