Because it matters

Different Strokes

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Marrying his creative passion for art with conviction to make more of his innate talent, Hesham Malik, the internationally acclaimed abstract artist shares with Yasmeen Maqbool his absolutely exhilarating experience while painting five live canvases with the specially-abled children of The Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, Dubai.

Hesham understands art in its various facets. He believes that creativity can be extremely exciting, while helping children express themselves through the wonderful world of colours. “I believe that art is within us all in some form or the other; we all realize it at some point and when we do, we should share it with those around us,” he points out. “Art is used by many charity based institutions to indulge participants in positive creativity,” he says. Further the same art is sold to generate awareness around the society and helps bring in the much-needed financial aid to these institutions. Hesham agrees that art helps express the pent up emotions, thoughts and feelings of many special needs children. “The colours used by these children express a lot about their feelings. They don’t just splash colours, they make portraits with expressions and sceneries with meaning,” notes Hesham, “These expressions are hidden emotions that find voice on canvas.”

An unforgettable experience that has stayed with Hesham is when once he asked a child about a broken earthen pot she had painted with dark colours. “What she said was beautiful – ‘Darkness leads to light and it’s the light that will join the broken parts!’”recalls Hesham. With all praise and confidence in their talent, Hesham believes, “The more experiences I share with these children, the stronger I believe in their creative and intellectual potential. I hope I always find a part to play in the colours of their lives.”

Every work of art has a message, for the onlookers, as well as those who create it. “Colours give you direction, the direction leads to a path and along this path there is a story that takes us to the hidden recesses of our own mind and soul,” believes the Bahrain born, Dubai raised artist.

“Through art, I share those stories with others and invite them to discover hidden dimensions of themselves through it,” he says.

Being a part of the Rashid Paediatric Art Fest has been one such exhilarating experience for Hesham. “The most striking feature in the children at the therapy centre is the smile they carried throughout the painting session.”

Hesham received some of the best advice as these children guided him on how to use the different brushes to create the perfect stroke. The children were very attentive, and they not only followed instructions, but also shared and discussed their own creative ideas. “Just like me the children favoured bright and light colours (yellow, purple, pink, and red, blue, gold),” he points.

Hesham shares: “The children were already well versed and had hands on experience about different art forms and what we all experienced was a fun painting session which lasted a little over three hours. It was an overwhelming moment for me and I experienced an array of different emotions. At times it was difficult to grasp their reality and the fact of how bravely they lead their lives in the world.”

It has almost been over two decades since he has been actively involved with such institutions. Most of his contribution has been with children and senior citizens. “Painting is a natural form of expression and even children with minimal vision enjoy the form of art. Being a part of art workshops with blind or partially blind children has always been challenging but at the same time very positive and educative. The magic of colours always brings a smile on their faces,” he says.

Painting with senior citizens has always been a wonderful experience that Hesham cherishes. He thinks, “They are great students and within them beats the heart of a playful child. Being seniors, they lead the creative process, and I, as an artist, am lost in the wonder of their company.”

These are moments where Hesham wishes that time stands still and he can forever revel in the joy they share.