Exhibitions : Alwan Exhibition by Bayt Silsal at Ruwwad

People with disabilities find haven, mode of expression in art | Jordan Times

AMMAN — An exhibition that opened on Wednesday showcases works of art illustrating the thoughts and skills of people with disabilities.

Held by Ruwwad Al Tanmeya, a nonprofit community empowerment organisation, the exhibition, titled Alwan (colours), features products made through Bayt Silsal, which is a centre that hosts people with disabilities to create ceramics and paintings.   

Samar Dudin, regional director and head of programmes at Ruwwad Al Tanmeya, said Bayt Silsal is an initiative by Jordanian artist Rula Atalla in collaboration with the NGO. 

“We set up the workshop in 2006 and started with four participants; now we have 16.They come to the workshop on a daily basis and work in ceramics and with creative art,” she told The Jordan Times at the opening ceremony of the exhibition at Wadi Finan Art Gallery.  

Dudin noted that the project focuses on creating a safe place for young people with disabilities to access some form of employment and productivity in the process of creating art and also developing themselves. 

“It also focuses on creating support groups for the parents in collaboration with SANA organisation for special individuals. The impact… has been that we have created daily work for 16 young people with disabilities and support groups for their parents, which helps them deal with all kinds of psychosocial challenges related to working with young people with disabilities,” Dudin added. 

“It is very important to address the challenges of people with different types of disabilities, but I think there is progress and the most effective progress is through initiatives that are mobilised by active people who are able to create pilots to inspire and to enhance the way we address the needs of this of very special group of citizens,” she said. 

Maysoun Ayoub, one of the trainers at Bayt Silsal, said the exhibition, which continues through December 29, illustrates their talents and skills.  

“The message is that if we provide people with disabilities with all the necessary support, they can create high-quality products and be productive members in the community,” Ayoub told The Jordan Times.  

Hani Alqam, an artist who teaches the participants how to paint, said they are curious to know what art is which made the process much easier for both parties — the teacher and the students. 

“All the works displayed at the exhibition represent their feelings and thoughts,” he added.  

Alqam noted that each student has the qualities of an artist. 

“An artist has to be brave, and they are.”

Dudin underscored the need to focus more on innovative approaches where the families of people with disabilities are involved, and creativity and production are integrated to create not only sustainable initiatives, but also those that can inspire and mobilise action to help and support these types of projects. 

“They do not think that they are people with disabilities, they perceive themselves as normal people and the main proof of that is the great energy they have during the working process at the centre,” she added. 

Um Ayman Kanaan, whose son Ayman is one of the beneficiaries of the initiative, said the centre helped her son, especially psychologically.

“People in the neighbourhood used to mock him because he suffers from a disability and he became shy because of that. He also used to spend most of the day sleeping,” she told The Jordan Times over the phone, noting that the centre made him feel confident. 

“He receives some money because of his work and he is proud of that. He is skilful in painting and now he spends all his day painting.”