Dubai: Residents who consider the UAE to be their home have showered their love for the nation on its Golden Jubilee.
Fifty UAE residents have conveyed special messages to the nation in commemoration of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, with people of determination also joining in. Their message came in time for ‘People of Determination Day’, which is observed on December 3 every year.
To commemorate UAE Golden Jubilee and People of Determination Day, The Sustainable City has launched a campaign called ‘A Nation of Determination’. It is a celebration of art, creativity, poetry and inclusivity and will consist of a collection of 50 poetry and art works made through collaborative efforts across the nation.
“The Sustainable City collected 50 statements from UAE residents expressing their love and appreciation for the UAE and then turned each one of those statements into artworks,” said Hadeel Ahmad, communication director at The Sustainable City. The artworks were printed onto canvases to be painted in art therapy sessions at Sanad Village, the region’s largest centre for People of Determination, which is located in The Sustainable City, Dubai.
‘Great place to live’
“The artworks will live forever in an online art gallery that will host all 50 completed artworks and list the names of all the contributors as an ongoing tribute to the act of collaboration and togetherness that helped this campaign come to life,” said Ahmad.
“To mark the National Day celebrations, we decided this year to do something that would give the kids in Sanad Village the opportunity to celebrate and shine with the entire country. We collected 50 statements from residents in the UAE expressing their love and gratitude to this country and what makes it a great place to live. These statements were transformed into artworks that we used in creative art therapy sessions in Sanad Village,” she said.
One of the residents who contributed to this effort by conveying her message to the nation is Emirati Noura Ali-Ramahi, 46. “I came to the UAE in 1989. I have been writing poetry ever since I was a young girl. Recently, I have been doing a lot of poetry when I walk at sunrise. As we were approaching the 50th anniversary of the UAE, I began to reflect on what the UAE has meant to me and my family. I wanted to tell the story of the UAE in my own way and that’s when I thought of the first line of the poem ‘I was born in the sand ...’ I wanted to write the story in first person as if I myself was UAE, telling my story to the world.”
Ali-Ramahi has written about the humble beginnings of the UAE, the desert, the sea, the union of the emirates, which she compares with seven pearls. “I wanted to speak about the UAE welcoming people from all over the world. Together, we dreamed big and ‘touched the clouds’. And 50 years later, we celebrate the golden jubilee. We celebrate the diversity and tolerance and leadership and vision of the UAE. And together we reflect on the past to forge a path towards the next 50. Our footsteps mark the path towards the rising sun,” she said.
‘Dreamers shine bright’
British expatriate Anna Seaman, 41, said that to her, UAE was a symbol of unity and tolerance for the rest of the world. “I have lived in the UAE for 14 years. If there is one thing I know it is that everyone is welcome here. It means a lot to me that everyone can live happily and find opportunities here. It is mostly down to the leadership and how they have made this country so inviting to all. It is a land for dreamers and the dreamers shine so bright — thanks to the UAE and its leaders,” she said.
Such messages from Emiratis and expatriates have been put on a canvas and people of determination from Sanad Village have lent colour to the whole thing. “The result is a beautiful digital gallery of 50 art pieces celebrating unity, equality, inclusivity and everyone’s love for the UAE. This tribute will live digitally in www.nationofdetermination.ae and will be showcased in pop-up art exhibitions in The Sustainable City,” said Mahmoud A. Mahmoud, Early Intervention programme director of Sanad Village.
‘Acquiring advanced skills’
He said art and colouring were vital for developing many skills for people of determination. “Matching, identification, fine muscle skills, taking turn and movement coordination are all necessary before acquiring other advanced skills such as writing when it comes to people with determination. This initiative also gave students at Sanad Village the opportunity to interact with the other guests, which is necessary to develop their social skills in the long run and help them be independent,” he added.