I had one of the best mornings I've had in a long time down at Mawaheb for Beautiful People dancing, taking photo's, interviewing, but mostly learning about so many of the amazing people there.
Today I would like to share Victor's story with you. It is a beautiful and powerful story of the beauty of silence.
Victor is an artist, and an incredible one at that. When he brought his painting out it literally took my breath away, and I'd like to add that my photographs don't do the painting of the African lady justice at all....you really have to see this in person!
Take a moment to learn a little bit about Victor, his story is about loss and triumph, a real inspiration!
Tell me a bit about yourself, who is Victor?
I am 25 years old and come from Zambia. I am deaf. I have been living in Dubai for 10 years, and love to paint. Photography and computer work are also my passion. I am also an Arsenal football fan!
What is your biggest challenge living in Dubai?
It is hard to find people to communicate with. Not many people know sign language. Communication is an even bigger challenge for those who cannot sign or lip read.
Tell me about your schooling?
I went to a deaf school in Zambia, but when I moved to Dubai I had to go to a Special Needs school here as there were no facilities for the deaf.
Did you feel like you fit in or belonged there?
No, not at all. I wasted six years being there but there was no other choice. The teachers were unable to sign and I had no friends.
When did your life turn around and who helped you to do that?
I met Gulshan who introduced me to Mawaheb and helped me to find the confidence to pursue my art.
How is your life different now?
I became an artist and started to make friends here at Mawaheb from Beautiful People and in the community. My world opened up. I travelled to the UK twice to work with Trevor Waugh who is a highly acclaimed contemporary British artist. I had 2 solo exhibitions, one in Showcase, and the other in Art Couture.
What is your biggest gift?
What changes do you want to see in Dubai to make it more accessible for people who are deaf?
First thing would be a school for the deaf. I would also like to see more deaf people in the workforce in Dubai. It would be nice to see sign language taught in all schools as compulsory. English subtitles for movies would also be great.
What have you learned in your journey so far?
It can feel lonely at times. People need to make a bit more effort to try to communicate.
Thank you Victor, and all the people at Mawaheb! I truly enjoyed my time with you! You can see more of Victor's work at Victor Sitali Artistry, some incredible pieces on his page to give you a feel for the body of his work!
If you would love a chance to get some amazing artwork at a reasonable cost and support the students of Mawaheb, please be sure to visit Art in Secret and see their upcoming exhibition on the 18th to 21st of January in Al Serkal! An event not to be missed!