x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

An art exhibition that made waves

Visitors were inspired at a two-day exhibition of artworks by the disabled and prisoners, which was staged at the female campus of the UAE University.

Rosalina Godoy teaches fine art at UAE University. At her booth are paintings by mentally or physically disabled artists. Lee Hoagland / The National
Rosalina Godoy teaches fine art at UAE University. At her booth are paintings by mentally or physically disabled artists. Lee Hoagland / The National

AL AIN // Rabia Batool calls a painting of a sailboat by one of her pupils, a 24-year-old Emirati named Mariam, her favourite.

The Indian art teacher, who teaches Mariam at the Dubai Club for Special Sports, explains how the quadriplegic puts paint to canvas.

"Mariam is only able to move her head," she explained. "By clenching a string with her teeth that is tied around her wrist, she is able to move her hand with her head to paint. As you can see she is very talented."

The sailboat painting was part of a small, two-day exhibition of art and handicrafts by local prisoners, people with special needs and the disabled at the female campus of UAE University. Any sales at the first-time show, which featured four stalls and ended yesterday, went to support the artisans.

The most popular items in Ms Batool's booth were crocheted hair clips made by girls who are deaf, and worry beads, or misbahas, made by others who are blind.

"By touch they know where to thread the string through the beads and from their shape [they] know which beads are which," the teacher explained.

A Ministry of Interior booth offered ornate beaded jewellery boxes, and khandoura and dress stands selling for Dh750, made by prisoners at Al Wathba and Al Ain prisons.

"The khandoura or dress is draped over the stand and an incense burner is placed underneath so the clothes end up smelling like Oud," said ministry employee.

Any money raised from the sale of the items goes to the prisoners, who under Emirati law are to be paid for any work they produce, she said.

Ameena Ahmad, 19, an Emirati student, was among those who stopped to look at the wares between classes.

"What these disabled men and women can do is inspiring," she said.

 

ealghalib@thenational.ae