If you have a dream to pursue, do not let any obstacles stop you in going after it. This brilliant attitude was the driving force amongst a group of young artists with special needs who displayed their works at the ‘Once Upon a Time’ charity art exhibition, held by the Very Special Arts (VSA) Charity at Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore.

The talented group received a pleasant surprise on Saturday, 25 September 2011, when QI Executive Chairman Dato’ Vijay Eswaran and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson took time out of their busy Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix tour schedules to pay the children a visit.

Marussia Virgin Racing captures dreams in action with Dato’ Vijay Eswaran and Sir Richard Branson with the Very Special Arts students.

Programme Executive of VSA, Ms Magali Finet, explained that each year, the VSA organises an annual art competition featuring winning and commendable pieces by children and youth with disabilities. This year, which marks the ninth year of this art exhibition, the theme focusses on encouraging the talented VSA students to revisit the legend of Singapore.

Dato’ Vijay Eswaran and Sir Richard Branson spent their time speaking to some of the artists, and were especially enraptured by paintings featuring the environment by Ms Toh Ah Wat, a physically disabled artist. Ms Toh began painting as a hobby three years ago, but as soon as her confidence grew, she turned her talent into a full-time job that now earns her a living.

Dato' Vijay and Sir Richard have a light-hearted moment with Ms Toh Ah Wat. Physically disabled, she remained undeterred as she carved a successful career for herself as a painter.

With both VIP guests’ glowing reviews, a very surprised Ms Toh remarked that this was the first time people with such influence had seen and praised her paintings. “Hearing how much Sir Richard and Dato’ Vijay like my artworks only motivates me to get better at my craft,” said Ms Toh.

Impressed that these artists do not let their disabilities stand in the way, Dato’ Vijay said “This exhibition is really a testament to the mantra that nothing is impossible. The art pieces I’ve seen today are exceptionally-painted and up to par with any that you would see in art galleries worldwide.”

“People underestimate the value of the arts for people with disabilities. As VSA has proven, it is an excellent form of creative expression for them and provides them with infinite opportunities for personal and professional growth,” Sir Richard added.

At the end of this special visit, Ms Finet presented her VIP guests with two books authored by VSA artists.

Sir Richard, Dato’ Vijay and a group of QI directors, then, adjourned to French restaurant in the stylish Dempsey area, for an intimate lunch.

As always, our F1 correspondant QNet VFan, was there and shares the MAD (Making A Difference) news on her blog here.