Brush with art. Sahl Riyaz with his artworks at The Friday Market Image Credit: Hiba Mashkoor/XPRESS

DUBAI: A teenager with special needs is drawing crowds at a community market in Dubai with his artworks.

Sahl Riyaz, 16, from Kerala suffers from ADS (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and has significant social, communication and behavioural challenges. But these barriers haven’t stopped him from expressing himself through his paintings.

Using deft, powerful brush strokes, Sahl has come up with a series of abstract paintings, many of which have already found takers at The Friday Market held on Rolla Street in Bur Dubai every week.

His mother Shabnam said the family discovered Sahl’s hidden talent when the Marthoma Church in Sharjah invited him for a painting workshop recently.

“He surprised everyone with his creations and made all of us proud,” she added. “As a child, he was interested in puzzle games and would solve the Rubic cube puzzle within minutes. But now we know that his real interest lies in painting,” said his father Riyazudin. Juhi Yasmeen Khan, who organises The Friday Market in association with charity organisation Dar Al Ber Society, said she spotted Sahl at the Indian Consulate where he had displayed some of this creations. “I was impressed by his works I asked him to showcase his paintings at the charity market. The response has been quite enthusiastic. Not only has he been able to sell several artworks, he has also picked up important social skills,” she said.

Sahl’s works can be viewed on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sahl2000/