UAE student with hearing disability curates unique exhibition in Abu Dhabi

Twenty-four emerging artists are set to showcase their paintings, designs and crafts


Ashwani Kumar

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Photo by Ashwani Kumar
Photo by Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 4:29 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 4:33 PM

Emirati student Ameera Al Zaabi had been told ‘art wasn’t for her’ because she is a person of determination. On Saturday, she proved people wrong by presenting a wonderful in-person exhibition she curated for the Department of Culture and Tourism–Abu Dhabi (DCT–Abu Dhabi).

“I can’t hear without hearing aids. But as a person of determination, I was told a lot of things like art is not a career, it’s not for me. People used to tell me that I am not capable enough. I proved them wrong. This event is the biggest proof of that,” she told Khaleej Times, pointing to the different artists who are participating in the Khalifa Park Library’s ‘KPL Art Hub’ exhibition.

The exhibition was launched by Maktaba, the library management department of DCT Abu Dhabi.


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Al Zaabi, a university student who’s pursuing a degree in interior design, searched for artists, evaluated their works, and picked emerging talents with huge potential.

“This exhibition will have both local and resident artists. These are lesser-known artists. They are from different fields: photography, painting and designing,” she said.

Over the next few weeks, some 24 emerging artists will showcase their paintings, designs and crafts.

“Art allows people to grow as a person and express themselves. So, don’t be affected by what people tell you. Follow what you think is right. Despite disabilities, a person can do whatever they aspire,” Al Zaabi said.

The artist — who loves painting anime, cartoons and movies — is also showcasing her fanart at the exhibition.

“Anime is very creative. I love the imaginary world. I started painting in 2017. I have never stopped since then. I create two paintings a week. I have been able to manage studies and art. Once I graduate, I will freelance as an interior designer and continue as an artist,” she said.

Fatema Al Tamimi, programme lead for Maktaba, said the exhibition hones the artistic skills of young adults.

“Each one of them has their own skills. We support them with library space and by representing their skills. With this event, we will be able to attract this group (18 years and above), which is otherwise difficult to attract.”

Faris Ali Al Hammadi, a 19-year-old artist, is happy to have found a platform where he can showcase his work.

“I like nature and wildlife and I am inspired by the things I see. This event is a great platform for new artists like us. During the pandemic we didn’t get many opportunities to showcase our talents,” said the university student.

The exhibition features workshops covering a variety of topics, including imagining scenarios from kids’ stories, recreating world-famous paintings, crafting kids’ toys, and designing clay models.

Maryam Al Rumaithi, a 21-year-old university student and an artist, will be hosting six workshops.

“This will give kids an opportunity to use their imagination and develop their skills. Art is important in life. As a child, I never had such an opportunity. Such workshops will help them learn the basics of art.”

Abdullah Al Marzooqi, a librarian at the Khalifa Park Library, noted that there has been a good response to such an exhibition.

“The daily number of visitors at the library is between 50 and 100. But up to 200 people turn up for events. We host this event and workshop to support students and artists.”

The exhibition will continue until November 25. Entry to the Khalifa Park Library is free.

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