Popular Dubai studio for artists with disabilities to reopen after closing last year

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A popular art studio for young adults with disabilities that closed last year is set to reopen in early 2022.

The ten-year-old Mawaheb has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic and its closure in October last year discouraged the tight-knit special needs community.

The art studio, whose name means “talented” in Arabic, will move to a larger space in Dubai’s Al Quoz district from its original home in the historic Bastakiya district of the emirate.

Our new site will be a hub for culture, innovation and talent

Wemmy de Maaker, director of Mawaheb

“Exactly a year ago we had to make the most difficult decision to close Mawaheb. Since then, it’s been a time of reflection and now it’s time to reconnect with students, their families and our partners, ”said Wemmy de Maaker, director of the nonprofit art studio. The National.

“Personally, I am very excited for the determined individuals and their families and grateful that we are once again able to offer a place where they can develop their skills and reach their best potential.

“A place where they can make friends and integrate with others. A place that will facilitate awareness of equality, acceptance and inclusion.

The new studio, which welcomes students aged 18 and over, will open on GC Avenue in Al Quoz and was made possible with the support of the family of a student from Mawaheb.

The previous space was divided into several rooms around a courtyard, while the last plan has larger areas in which students can work.

It will feature a 3,000 square foot café, double its predecessor, and a workshop where people with special needs can meet and participate in activities.

A spacious warehouse next door has been set aside for professionally supervised arts training sessions and life learning courses for young adults with disabilities.

The studio will have plenty of space for students to work, dance and do yoga, ”said Ms. de Maaker.

“The cafe will have an industrial chic look, providing a warm and comfortable atmosphere for leisure and work.”

The studio has trained several talented artists over the years, some of whom have held solo exhibitions and gained their own workspace in art galleries in Dubai.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 18, 2017: Vinayak Commar serves coffee at Studio Mawaheb cafe in the historic Al Fahidi district of Bur Dubai in Dubai on September 18, 2017. The studio is a place that allows adults with special needs to working on their art, selling their art and serving customers in their cafe.  Christopher Pike / The National Reporter: N / A Section: News

News of Mawaheb’s opening spread quickly with 15 students already enrolled.

Indian artist Sharan Budhrani was delighted to hear of the reopening.

“This will be the best start to 2022,” said Budhrani, who this year received a long-term Gold Residency for his cultural contribution to the United Arab Emirates.

“This is a great opportunity for all of us. I’m really looking forward to it. “

Mr. Budhrani suffers from muscular dystrophy which weakens his muscles and limits his mobility. He uses remote control cars, spoons and sticks to paint on large canvases while seated in a wheelchair.

Volunteers have held online sessions to keep the community engaged over the past year, but students are eager to meet old friends and learn new skills in the new studio.

“The past year has been very difficult,” said Mr. Budhrani. “Seeing people online was great, but it will be amazing to have a studio again. “

Ms de Maaker hoped more students would sign up to explore their talent in the studio, which she described as “a safe, inspiring and accessible place for determined people.”

Al Quoz in central Dubai has been the subject of redevelopment since the announcement of the vision for the cultural sector by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

“Our new location will be a hub of this destination and a hub for culture, innovation and talent,” said Ms. de Maaker.

“The Creative Zone aims to attract a regional and international audience to the region and encourage artists to live, work and exhibit in the region, which is part of the efforts to involve the community.

“We want to connect with society and inspire everyone to do their best. “

The renovation will begin soon and the space will be ready by the end of the year in time for the opening in early 2022.

For more information, contact: [email protected]

Update: October 19, 2021 7:05 am


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