Visitors look at art works created by people with special needs following the launch of the artDXB initiative at Dubai airport’s terminal 3 on Wednesday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Art created by people with special needs (the determined ones) will now be visible to more than 90 million people passing through Dubai Airports every year.

A new initiative, artDXB, was launched on Wednesday at Terminal three by Dubai Airports in collaboration with Mawaheb from Beautiful People art studio.

The initiative will reprint creative artworks by the determined ones onto 32 by 3 metre boards and display them in concourse C at Dubai International Airport.

The initiative aims to encourage the determined ones living in the UAE to develop their skills through the medium of art, while raising awareness about the importance of providing opportunities to help them live full, rewarding lives.

“We approach the determined ones in a different way- we teach them life skills, social skills, and communication skills through the medium of art … It’s all about integration, believing in them and acknowledging them,” Wemmy de Maaker, Founder of Mawaheb from beautiful people, said.

The art programme for adults with special needs, which was launched in 2010, has 27 students enrolled between the ages of 18-60. Apart from developing art skills, students at the studio are also given the opportunity to work at the cafe or gift store at the facility, said Maaker.

“A few days a week, we start our morning with yoga sessions led by volunteers, and on other days we start the day with dancing. That is followed by a communication session, where all the students sit together and discuss either a theme for an exhibition or they talk about something that is going on in someone’s life,” she explained.

The launch event also the unveiled the first artwork to be displayed at the airport — by Mawaheb’s 24-year old Emirati artist Abdullah Lutfi. The piece, which offers a fun and fanciful depiction of life inside the world’s busiest international airport, was specially commissioned by Dubai Airports and will be put up on display at concourse C of the airport.

“This is my commissioned piece on Dubai Airport, I drew lots of tourists, some sushi bars, a lounge and swimming pool and a play area for little kids. Having my piece commissioned makes me feel like the greatest artist ever,” Lutfi told Gulf News. Lutfi, who has been drawing since he was seven, dreams of living in Tokyo and continuing to pursue art.

Another student attending the launch was German Laila M., 53, who joined Mawaheb last September.

“I really like Mawaheb, I am an artist there, and I help out and sell things at the coffee shop and I am a shopkeeper, too,” she told Gulf News, while presenting paintings collectively made by the students at the studio.

In the coming months, other student artists of Mawaheb will also be featured as part of the artDXB display in the concourse.