From The Straits Times    |

#HerWorldHerStory is a collection of 60 women sharing their successes, passions, challenges, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman today.

Every month from March till August, we present 10 women navigating their lives now – and in their own words. This is Chen Ziyue’s story…


Growing up was tough because I was often left out of conversations. I was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears when I was two and a half years old. I first studied at Canossian School (then Canossian School for the Hearing Impaired). When I was nine, my late mother transferred me to St. Anthony’s Canossian Primary School. It was a big change going to a mainstream school. But my mum wanted me to learn survival skills that would help me function independently in society.

As a child, art became my “escape” from a confusing world, not being able to understand others, and vice versa. The late American author Helen Keller who was deaf and blind once said blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.

Drawing and playing with art helped me to forget the frustration of my struggles with verbal communication. It also helped me express my emotions.

I’ve been a freelance artist-illustrator for mostly children’s books since graduating from Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) in Florida in 2013.

The most recent book I worked on is How Women Won the Vote by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, published by HarperCollins. I now see myself as an equal to others. Living overseas alone made me more independent, and more aware of my identity as a deaf person. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had.

I hope the arts scene and disability inclusiveness will continue to grow…it’s promising to know that someone like me has a fair chance to work on my art. My wish is to work on a book to tell my story… I haven’t been able to finish illustrating my feelings on my mum’s passing but it’s something that I’m working on.

This article was first published in Her World’s June issue. Grab a copy today!