INCLUSIVE ART GALLERY AT EMIRATES PALACE PUTS SPECIAL OLYMPICS LEGACY IN THE FRAME

UAE, 12 March 2019: Photographs, paintings, sculptures and artworks created by artists with and without intellectual disabilities will be displayed at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace hotel as part of an Inclusive Art Gallery project.

Organized by Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, in partnership with the U.S Embassy Abu Dhabi and AMIDEAST, the gallery will be open to members of the public from March 14 - 23.

Work by local and international artists will be featured in the Gallery, which celebrates inclusion and the talents of people of determination.

Among the exhibitions featured in the Gallery will be a collection of the artworks created as part of the Unified Art Workshop series that were held over the past months at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi.

Mawaheb, the Dubai-based art studio for people of determination, will also be contributing a selection of artworks to the Gallery. It also includes other artworks created by the community including Emirates Autism society, Goals UAE, the Abu Dhabi-based Black Canvas Community art group, and works by the acclaimed Emirati artist Abdulla Lutfi.

The Inclusive Art Gallery will also feature the AccessAbility exhibition, which tells the individual stories of people with disabilities. Held in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, the Local Organising Committee of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 has worked with The National to photograph and tell the stories of 14 people of determination living in the UAE.

They include Special Olympics athletes as well members of the community with disabilities and celebrates both the Year of Tolerance and inclusiveness within UAE society.

The UAE version of the exhibition is inspired by the original AccessAbility photo exhibition featuring 14 individuals with disabilities that were photographed and interviewed in Sweden during 2014. The exhibition shows their experiences and perspectives on life with a disability in Sweden and has been shown in 19 countries since November 2015.

Both the Swedish and UAE exhibition will be shown side by side, designed to initiate a conversation about accessibility and disability policies around the world.

Finally, the Inclusive Art Gallery will feature six paintings from the two Italian artists Diego Salezze and Lisa Perini, a specially curated selection of photographs by former USA Special Olympian and photographer Geoffrey Mikol, and a live drawing showcase by Emirati artists Humaid Al Nuaimi and Huda Karam in the Gallery, which members of the public are invited to attend.

Tala Al Ramahi, Chief Strategy Officer at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “The Inclusive Art Gallery is a culmination and celebration of the art created by - and for - people of determination, showcasing the work of the next generation of talented individuals. Through the power of art and unified activities, we aim to can share the positive impact of inclusion in our society and build bridges between people with and without disabilities.

“With the fantastic support of our partners, this exhibition is a wonderful way to share the legacy of the Special Olympics message and showcase our values as a nation in the Year of Tolerance.”

Scott Bolz, U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Section Chief, said: “The U.S. Embassy has been honored to partner with the Special Olympics and Amideast on this wonderful and inspiring program. Over the course of seven workshops, participants had the opportunity to develop their artistic skills in a welcoming and inclusive setting. We look forward to seeing the final artworks, which will be on display at Emirates Palace from March 14 - 23.”

Rula Dajani, Country Director, AMIDEAST UAE, said: “In the year of tolerance, AMIDEAST UAE was privileged to partner with the Special Olympics and the US Embassy on such a key national project.   Being a part of this historical event where promotion of important values of acceptance and inclusivity; building cultures of acceptance through Arts, was really a “Flame of Hope.”

Sharan Sunner