‘I just feel happy’: Artist with Down syndrome finds joy creating ‘art from the heart’

Without formal training, she simply does “art from the heart”, her parents said.

The self-taught artist has won several local and international awards. She is also a regular at exhibitions organised by ART:DIS, a local non-profit organisation dedicated to creating learning and livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities in the arts.

“Her works have always been one of the first to be sold,” said ART:DIS executive director Angela Tan, describing Ms Wong’s style as “truly unique”.


Ms Wong began showing an interest in drawing when she was young, but a congenital heart condition limited her time at it. Two holes in her heart, which affected blood flow through the heart and the rest of the body, meant that she was hospitalised frequently and had to be on daily medication.

“She actually turned blue a few times because her heart couldn’t cope,” recounted mum Lily Wong. “She was so delicate and because of her condition, she was generally a very quiet child.”

A turning point came when Ms Wong underwent heart surgery at the age of nine. As her health improved, she could finally spend more time on art.

“She was doodling all over the house. There was once when I opened my Bible one Sunday and I found a new design inside. It was all Fern’s geometric drawings,” dad James Wong said.

Her parents decided it was time to furnish their daughter with proper drawing materials. 

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