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Alex Lim
Photograph: Alex Lim (The Unskilled Boy)

Artist spotlight: Alex Lim, autistic teen artist who helps community cats with his art

"I hope my paintings make people happy. I am happy when I paint."

Dewi Nurjuwita
Written by
Dewi Nurjuwita
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It's hard to make a living as an artist, which makes it even harder to dedicate your cause to a charity of your choice. But Alex Lim is no ordinary artist. The 16-year old artist is a student at Pathlight School who has also successfully launched a side hustle to donate to a cause he's passionate about, cats. 

But let's start with his first passion, art. Alex started drawing at three before dipping his hands into painting in primary school. He'd spend hours creating art after school, inspired by everyday things he sees and the feelings they evoke in him. Now, Alex uses different painting techniques to create pieces that are entirely unique – from brushes, fingers, knife brushes to wooden sticks and woodblocks. Painting not only brings him happiness, it also calms his mind. 

And he's brilliant at it, too. The teen artist recently staged a virtual art exhibition 'I Am Alex'. 45 acrylic paintings were showcased, out of which, 42 sold out within just six days. The passionate artist also donated 50 percent of his proceeds to the Cat Welfare Society (CWS). 

"I choose Cat Welfare Society because I have 2 cats. They grew up with me and they keep me company," Alex tells us. "I see cats everywhere but they have no home and sometimes, they are looking for food. Cat Welfare Society can help community cats."

His paintings are vibrant and cheerful, a sneak peek into the inner workings of his mind. There are paintings he calls Animal Selfies that feature sparrows, dinosaurs and community cats, alongside abstract paintings and still life. One, Midnight Cat, "is inspired by fiercely-independent community cats that roam the HDB blocks at night, sometimes looking for food."

His favourite piece, though, is one called Turtle Bubbles, a watercolour abstract art he did in Primary Six. "I like turtles and I have one at home. I also have two cats and a rabbit," Alex says. 
When we asked what his hope for the world is, his answer was an innocent yet very relevant one, especially during these tough times: "A kind world for people and animals."
"I plan to use the remaining money to buy more materials for my next charity project in November," he adds. "I want to do something meaningful with my paintings." 
While most of Alex's paintings are sold out, you can commission a special piece from him if you want to give him some hope and support his cause. 

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