As part of the ‘Selah’ Art Program, a year-long initiative designed to help underprivileged children and orphans to develop self-awareness, cognitive and creative skills through the therapeutic value of expressive arts such as drawing, painting, clay modelling, music and drama, The Cultural Office of HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum recently hosted its third ‘Selah’ art workshop, which was led by Emirati volunteer artists.
During the workshop, children were asked to make a superhero which reflects their resilience and choose a superpower that can be positively incorporated into their daily lives, exploring how and when they would use their superpower. As part of the second session, children were asked to identify and create an animal that represents themselves the most, giving the children an opportunity to reflect on their personality traits and character, and helping them to understand diversity amongst their peers.
The third session of the workshop involved using a canvas mask to create an external and internal representation of how the children portray themselves to others, and how they actually feel. Discussions centred on the children’s individual role and identity within the group, comparing their inner/external representation.
Mona Bin Kalli, Director of The Cultural Office of HH Sheikha Manal, said: "Art therapy provides children with a vital emotional outlet which enables them to open up and communicate, which is why workshops like this can play such an important role in the healing process. We were delighted with the progress that the children made in such a short time throughout the workshop, which provided them with a platform to boost their self-confidence and creativity, and enhance their social skills through interaction with other children and adults. We would like to extend our gratitude to the talented artists who made the workshop possible by volunteering their time to help the children heal and learn through artistic expression."
The ‘Selah’ Art Program is an initiative by The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in collaboration with Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, and led by Emirati volunteer artists, who included Alia Lootah and Khawla Darwish.
The ‘Selah’ Art Program comprises of a series of workshops held over the course of a year which are specifically designed to benefit orphans and minors between the ages of 4 and 16 across all seven Emirates. The year-long program will conclude in showcasing the children’s art achievements from the workshops during an art exhibition. The next and final workshop will take place on May 19th, 2016.
The workshops reflect Sheikha Manal’s ongoing efforts to support humanitarian causes and the continued development of the UAE arts movement with the help of Emirati volunteers from the local arts scene. The artist volunteers are encouraged to work closely with the children; helping them to grow and heal through self-expression and interaction. Numerous studies have linked art with positive emotional, social, physical and spiritual growth, which improves the ability of disadvantaged children to engage at schools and become well-rounded adults and valued members of their communities.