x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

School exposes children to art

Start is a community summer programme in Dubai aimed at helping childhood development through art.

Students work on plaster masks during workshop at Jamjar studio in Al Barsha, Dubai.
Students work on plaster masks during workshop at Jamjar studio in Al Barsha, Dubai.

DUBAI // Children whose daily lives offer little or no access to art or creative activity will exhibit their own work today after just a week of classes at a summer school run by a Dubai-based charity with ambitions to reach out to young Palestinian refugees. The 12 participants, aged from 11 to 16, have been attending daily sessions organised by Start, a community programme, founded and sponsored by Art Dubai and Al Madad Foundation charity with the goal of helping childhood development through art. The children are of mixed ability, some having special needs and others simply lacking the chance to practise art during regular school hours.

Each day's session has taken a different theme, with the class led by a visiting expert. The children have been taught techniques in oil painting by Niamh Cunningham, how to design their ideal city by George Katodrytis, an architect, and how to develop photographs in a dark room by two leading photographers, Sertac Tasdelen and Charney Magri. The five daily sessions culminate in today's display of the art produced by the children.

Sonia Brewin, the director of Start, said the summer school represented an important step in her plans to offer similar activities elsewhere in the Middle East. "This week has been a great success and some of the children have produced work worthy of gallery space," she said. "But what has made it even better is that we now have a template which works. "The grand plan is to take the summer school to other countries like Lebanon and Jordan to help refugee children. The kids living there in camps have been mentally scarred by war and to know that we can help them through art is fantastic."

The Start summer school exhibition is free and open to the public between 3.30pm and 4.30pm at Jam Jar in Al Quoz, Dubai @Email:aseaman@thenational.ae