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Finding freedom and relaxation in the arts

Who would have guessed that battling exam stress can be as easy as switching your pens with paint brushes?

Even in the midst of their busy schoolwork and exam periods, these two art-loving students take the time to explore their creative side. Not only is it fun – it makes them better students too!

The art of combating stress

With the 'O' Levels around the corner, Kang Joo Soon, 16, is busy with his studies. But the Yuying Secondary School student has a secret weapon: his canvas. The Little Arts Academy (LAA) student's escape from the stress of school is through his imagination.

Joo Soon has been attending visual arts classes at LAA since 2009 and loves his classes because he gets to learn a lot from painting, installations, wire art and more. Despite his busy school schedule, taking time out from his studies does benefit him.


KANG JOO SOON WITH ONE OF HIS PAINTINGS
PHOTO CREDIT: THE LITTLE ARTS ACADEMY
He shared, "I believe that doing your favourite activity helps us to relieve stress. When exams are around the corner and I begin to feel stressed, I will take out a piece of paper and start drawing or doodling. Unknowingly, it starts to relieve my stress and I will find myself having more energy and confidence than before!"

JOO SOON LETS HIS PAINTBRUSH DO THE TALKING – AND FINDS STRESS RELIEF AND A 'SENSE OF WEIGHTLESSNESS' IN HIS ART.
Joo Soon described drawing as an almost euphoric experience, "I feel weightless, as if I am not present. My hands control the flow of my brush instead of my brain. The feeling is absolutely indescribable."

Not only is it enjoyable, his art is also relaxing. "With all the stress from school and exams, I believe that art is the only thing that doesn't give me additional stress. In fact, I see it as an outlet to de-stress and indulge in something that I enjoy."

The liberating expression of art
Aspiring actor, Shrey Bhargava, 18, a Raffles Institution student, had a big break earlier this year when he was part of Shakespeare in the Park. While most students – already faced with lots of studying – might balk at memorising lines and analysing Shakespeare, Shrey, a student at the Singapore Repertory Theatre's (SRT) The Young Company, finds it all very liberating and a way to achieve his dream.

SHREY IN A PRODUCTION, CONFESSIONS BY AL HAFIZ SANUSI, AS PART OF BUDS YOUTH THEATRE'S FROM SCRATCH IN 2012
He has always found that indulging in his passion for acting to be beneficial. Shrey said: "Throughout my six years at Raffles (Secondary and Institution), I've been involved in the performing arts in one way or another every year. Times do get stressful when rehearsals are intensive and there's a lack of time for studying and work. But when you do something you enjoy, not only does it relax you at that moment, it motivates you to work even harder in making time for everything else!"

SHREY IN EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE PERFECT, A STUDENT PRODUCTION
In fact, he reflected, his grades tend to be better the busier he is with productions. "I guess the reason theatre does relieve stress is that it allows you to forget your worries momentarily. And once you've done your art/performance, you have obtained this newfound appetite to cope with the academic platter on your plate," he said.

In any case, he reasoned, "One can't always be studying! We all need a break!"

Thanks to the National Arts Council for this article contribution!


Tags: Opinions