“We’re always afraid to ask questions, but we’re all different in our own way.”
That’s exactly the statement artist Azza Al Qubaisi wants to make with the launch of a community art initiative that aims to open up a dialogue on autism.
Hosted as part of Abu Dhabi Festival, Picture This! is a project that works with autistic children across the emirate to create a collaborative canvas.
Led by Azza in collaboration with Emirates Autism Society and autism support group GOALS UAE, children will be adding their own contributions to the project using a piece of palm eye to create an artwork inspired by UAE heritage.
The combined canvases will be displayed for public viewing at Umm Al Emarat Park until the end of March.
“This is a way for me to create an artwork so people realise that anybody can create art, but also to open a dialogue. It’s about getting people to see what we might not understand,” explained Azza.
And for young artists with autism, the initiative is inviting families to contribute to the piece in a public event in March.
“Community art not only brings benefits in terms of positive feelings for the participants, but also for the wider community,” said Khawla Barley, director of GOALS UAE.
“Those that can see this artwork know that it’s Emirati-inspired, but that there are contributors from all nationalities because they’re part of the community here.”