This Singaporean Chose Art to Escape From the Confusion of 'Growing Up Deaf'

This Singaporean Chose Art to Escape From the Confusion of 'Growing Up Deaf'

Read the inspiring story of Ziyue Chen, a deaf artist in Singapore. “It all started with drawing on the wall as a kid", she says.

Meet Ziyue Chen. Ziyue is an artist. She is a Singapore-based illustrator and a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in US.

She may not be able to hear the sounds and the words, but she sure knows how to translate the words in to emotions through her illustrations.

Ziyue is deaf.

Story of a Deaf Artist in Singapore

“It all started with drawing on the wall as a kid," she says. Art was a form of escape from the struggles, frustration and confusion of “growing up deaf.”  

Her mum encouraged her to draw and continues to be her biggest supporter. 

When she was nine, Ziyue was transferred from Canossian School for the Hearing Impaired (now renamed Canossian School) into St Anthony's Canossian Primary School. Her mother wanted Ziyue to join a mainstream school, so she could fit into society despite her disability.

Anyone with a dream will tell you that it’s not easy. It couldn’t have been easy for her too. People grow disheartened when faced with challenges, and so did Ziyue.

Somewhere down the road, Ziyue stopped creating art when she wasn’t doing well academically. Eventually though, she managed to complete her GCE O-level examination and then completed her diploma in Digital Media Design, majoring in Animation. She then worked as an animator for a Children’s Television Programme.

deaf artist in Singapore

I stumbled upon Ziyue Chen’s work while looking for a colouring piece to bond people together in the community. Her work on Singapore fit the bill just right.

However, that piece was not where I stopped, I ventured more in to her art, to find pieces that were just too endearing. She stole my heart with the the vulnerability and the warmth that she put in to each of her work.

An Inspiring Story

Today, 32-year-old Ziyue works mostly on Children’s Books, mural painting and print media from concept development to print. She says that she draws inspirations from life experiences, from memories, travel and people around her, which in her words, is “basically everywhere that comes within my senses”.

Ziyue’s world is full of colours now. “Today, I’m happy to be an artist, working as a Children’s Book Illustrator and occasionally sketching in my personal sketchbook.”

deaf artist in Singapore

Her clients include the Ministry of Education, HWM Magazine, Epigram Books, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers etc.  Her life goal, she says, is to have an emotional connection with those who view her work. All I can say is that it certainly is working!

Her story of colours and warmth is a reassurance. It reminds us of a rainbow after the rain, and of possibilities in a life full of challenges. An inspiration, not only to those who are faced with challenges in life, but also to those who would like to follow their hearts, Ziyue Chen makes it seem possible.

Ziyue Chen’s story is a story of reassurance, a story that makes one smile. If you want to see more of her work, follow her on Instagram at


Also READ: Read the inspiring story of this deaf mum in Singapore

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Written by

Prionka Ray

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