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Deaf artist wows Dubai residents with 'speed painting'

Deaf artist wows Dubai residents with speed painting
2briSqxSerIouS BuSINeSS ... Victor painted a portrait of Shaikh Mohammed in just seven minutes. - Photos by Rahul Gajjar

Victor, 26, who was born with a congenital hearing loss, did not let his deafness stop him from achieving his dreams.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Sat 20 Aug 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 21 Aug 2016, 9:27 AM

We all know the wise old saying 'where there is a will there is way' but young Victor from Zambia illustrates this with his inspiring story from being a deaf child to a young budding artist who communicates in a mysterious language of colour.
With the paintbrush in his dexterous hands, Victor swiftly transforms a dull and blank canvas into riot of color forming incredible shapes and figures. And at a recent exhibition held at the Jumeirah Golf Estate Clubhouse, the gifted young man left a bunch of art aficionados - who had gathered to celebrate his talent - completely stunned with his speed painting skills.
Victor, 26, who was born with a congenital hearing loss, did not let his deafness stop him from achieving his dreams and went on to become an established speed painter. And Khaleej Times witnessed his talent when in his recent exhibition titled Afro, in a matter of minutes, 7 minutes to be exact, painted a beautiful portrait of, first His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and President of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai. In the next round of speed painting the talk, dark and handsome dude - with his hair in cornrows - painted a portrait of the renowned boxer Mohammed Ali, whom Victor admires.
His mentor, Gulshan Kavarana, who knows Victor for the past 10 years now, said : "I have known Victor for the last 10 years. He moved to Dubai from Zambia when he was just 16 and since he was deaf, his parents put him in a special needs school, which should not have been the case.
I was a volunteer at Dubai Center for Special Needs and Victor had just moved back from Zambia to Dubai at that time. He was very talented and creative but because he only used sign language to communicate it was really hard for everyone around to really understand him as not many people know sign language."
Victor was left on his own and had started to regress, as he was unsure of what he wanted and was not motivated enough.
"As a volunteer in the art room at the centre, I saw he was interested in art but again he was not given the right explore his talent.
This is when I realized this child needs help and I met up with his mother Dorothy. I begged her to get him out of the special needs school and send him to a place where he would be able to move forward."
On Gulshan's insistence, Victor took admission into the art studio called Mawaheb from Beautiful People. An art studio - located in the culturally rich Al Bastakiya area - is for adults with special needs from 16 years and above, where student artists can learn artistic skills and develop their self-confidence in a relaxed safe environment.
Vicot emerges a confident man
This is when Victor's life took off as he was spotted by well-known UK artist Trevor Waugh who was visiting Dubai and had come to see the art works at Mawaheb. " I requested Trevor to train Victor and seeing Victor's talent, Trevor agreed," Gulshan said.
Victor was flown over to Waugh's studio in the UK for five weeks back in 2011, and then once again after that to study oil painting. " He came back a more confident young man and since then there has been no looking back.
From an unsure, confused youngster to an established and confident speed painter, Victor explains his journey through a little note written by him just at the entrance of his exhibition.
"My world has exploded in a way I could never have imagined. I was given a paintbrush and discovered I could paint...well! Exhibitions in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Holland, as well as an invitation from prolific UK Artist Trevor Waugh to receive mentoring increased my portfolio and my passion. The fact I cannot hear has no doubt helped to fine tune my eye for all things visual," says Victor's note.
Broadening his skill set
To broaden his skill set, Victor is also pursuing a BA in Graphic Design at SAE Institute, Dubai. He was lucky enough to get a volunteer Marisa Dietsche who knows the American Sign Language and who sat with Victor in his graphic designing classes to help him understand what's going on in the class.
"Marisa has gone every single day and sat in the class signing to him," Gulshan told Khaleej Times.
Oozing with confidence and optimism,Victor remains unfazed in his world of absolute silence. Cut off from the cacophony of life's humdrum, Victor's silence speaks in the harmony of peace and love and his exemplary spirit and hard work shows there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We at KT celebrate this young aspiring artist and wish him success in his future endeavours.
He is all set for his next exhibition at the More Café in the Mall of the Emirates on September 1, 2016.
Be there at his next exhibition:
When: September 1, 2016
Where:More Café in Mall of the Emirates


Victor’s tribute to his ideal boxer Muhammad Ali
Victor’s tribute to his ideal boxer Muhammad Ali
Victor with his mentor Gulshan Kavarana.
Victor with his mentor Gulshan Kavarana.

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