Gallery full of memories. Joyce Moi runs this art gallery with a bright smile, but there’s a sadness behind those eyes. See, this place isn’t just any gallery—it’s a tribute to her daughter, Janet Lee. The third anniversary celebration of the gallery recently went down, but it felt incomplete without Janet, who passed away from ovarian cancer a few months back.
Honoring a Legacy
This gallery isn’t just about any art—it’s packed with Janet’s masterpieces. Her parents, Joyce and Lee Tiam, set up this place to keep Janet’s artistic spirit alive.
A Tough Journey
Janet’s life wasn’t easy. It all started when she had her first epileptic seizure at just eight months old. Imagine how terrifying that must’ve been for her mom! Rushing her to the hospital became a regular thing until doctors suggested managing the seizures at home.
School wasn’t smooth sailing either. Janet had trouble with learning—she was slow to pick up reading and writing. Despite loving school, she couldn’t grasp those basics, which puzzled her mom big time.
Discovering a Talent
Turns out, Janet had a knack for colors. Her mom noticed it and enrolled her in art classes. Most teachers said she wasn’t really a natural at art, except for one who praised her patience and color-mixing skills.
Undeterred, her mom found an artist to mentor Janet. Finally, in 2019, she decided she was a “colorist”—someone who lives and breathes colors. Her proud mom opened the gallery in the next year, giving Janet her own creative space.
A Helping Hand
Joyce didn’t stop at honoring Janet’s legacy. She wanted this space to be a platform for other neurodivergent kids to shine. She reached out to parents, offering the gallery as a stage for their kids’ talents.
Janet’s World in Art
Janet’s paintings reflected her moods—mostly cheerful but with a couple of darker ones post-seizures. She was a mix of moods herself, spending some days in silence. But her art spoke volumes about her emotions.
Parenting Janet taught Joyce patience and the art of letting her daughter be herself. It changed her for the better, she says. Janet made her a better person.
A Difficult Farewell
Earlier this year, Janet’s health took a nosedive. By April, she was dealing with severe stomach pains. Despite her mom’s push, Janet didn’t want to visit the doctor until May. Tests revealed late-stage cancer, but Janet chose not to undergo treatment. She wanted to live life on her terms.
Continuing the Legacy
Even though Janet’s physically gone, her spirit lives on through the gallery. Joyce plans on keeping it going as long as she can, making sure Janet’s legacy thrives.
A Message to Other Parents
For parents dealing with neurodivergent kids, Joyce’s advice is simple: Don’t underestimate them. Every child has something special, and it’s up to us parents to discover and nurture it.