Art matters: Abdullah Eisa Lutfi during an art workshop at The Archive in Safa Park Image Credit: Clint Egbert/XPRESS

Dubai: An autistic 21-year-old Emirati has managed to not only pursue his passion for art, but is today reaching out to others.

Abdullah Eisa Lufti of Dubai whose mother once worried if he would ever lead a normal life today holds workshops for people on how to draw. “It is quite unexpected… unbelievable for me. He was four years old when he was diagnosed with autism after he had difficulty speaking. As a mother, I was always worried about how he would lead his life, but seeing him teach people is something I could never imagine until it actually happened,” Amal Baker told XPRESS on the sidelines of a workshop held by her son at The Archive in Safa Park.

During the workshop attended by 10 people, including university professors, Abdullah explained the nuances of painting to his students. He sketched drawings on the board, while carefully monitoring the progress of each participant through feedback and suggestions to help them improve.

“He takes care of details and has a very systematic approach. We would want to invite him as a speaker for one of our classes,” said Dr Nadera Alborno, a professor at Abu Dhabi University, who was a participant.

Abdullah said it is his love for art that keeps him going. “I love to draw and teaching it to others makes me feel good,” he said.

Amal said support by their family and Mawaheb for Beautiful People was instrumental in nurturing Abdullah’s passion: “His teachers spotted his talent and we can see a huge change in him in the last few years. Earlier he was not comfortable talking to others but now he is quite at ease addressing people learning from him. It is a great joy for me to see my son independent.

Abdullah’s teacher Gulshan Kavarana said the art studio aims to integrate artists with special needs into mainstream society. “We realised he can teach independently and so far he has conducted about six workshops. The best thing is he is able to generate income as well.”

Amal had this message of hope for parents of autistic kids: “Family support and a good environment can help development of your children.”