I Here Disability Art
I Am Here: Redefining Disability in the World of Art
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The Sharjah Art Museum is hosting I Am Here: Redefining Disability in the World of Art, a collective exhibition featuring creatives with disabilities who reshape the concept of disability through their art. The show is organised by the Sharjah Museums Authority in collaboration with the Art for All Centre (Falaj) of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS). Inaugurated by HH Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi (Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s Office) on 26 May 2024, the exhibition will be open to the public until 10 June 2024.

I Am Here displays a collection of 84 diverse works created by 34 artists affiliated with the Art for All Centre who employ the power of creativity to shatter barriers and challenge perceptions. Among the exhibitors is, for example, Emirati artist Moza Abdullah Bin Zeban. The first female artist to paint using only her foot, she has participated in exhibitions in 30 countries and received a number of awards. Moza says that through her vibrant paintings, she aims to convey a message to the world: “Disability […] does not justify failure.”

According to Her Excellency Mona Abdul Karim Al Yafei (Director General of SCHS), the I Am Here exhibit reflects SCHS’ vision of encouraging artists with disabilities and providing a platform for their creative expression. She added that the show seeks to transform how society views disability and honour disabled artists and producers.

Meanwhile, Aisha Rashid Dimas (Director General of the Sharjah Museums Authority) said that the show expresses the Authority’s commitment to its societal role, its cultural and humanitarian mission, and the principles of inclusiveness and participation. She said this initiative not only enriches the cultural scene in the emirate but also emphasises the positive impact of art and reinforces the idea that art is a universal language that allows everyone to produce and appreciate art.

About SCHS and Falaj

Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services is a non-profit organisation established in 1979 as a branch of the Arab Family Organization in the Gulf region. It is dedicated to the inclusion, empowerment, training, education, rehabilitation, and employment of people with disabilities in the Emirates and the broader Arab world.

With a belief in the creative potential of disabled individuals across all fields, SCHS pioneered the use of art as a tool for empowerment by founding the Emirates Group for Special Art in Sharjah in 1995. In 2009, the organisation was the first to introduce music education in colour for people with mental disabilities. Later, it founded the Artistic Creativity Group for persons with disabilities independently and complementary to the Emirates Private Art Group in 2010. In 2017, the Art Centre for All known as Falaj was established.

Run by Muhammad Bakr, Falaj focuses on empowering disabled people with an interest in cultural and artistic pursuits, helping them reach their full potential and actively engage with society. In 2020, the centre extended its services (lectures, art workshops, etc.) to include non-disabled people. It created more opportunities to integrate the members with disabilities with their colleagues and share experiences. Since its inception, Falaj has served over 830 individuals and participated in numerous competitions and art exhibitions in the UAE and internationally.

To learn more about I Am Here: Redefining Disability in the World of Art, please visit the show’s official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting the Laal Collection Volume II Fereydoun Ave Collection exhibition at Total Arts.