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Young amputee holds first art exhibition

By Camille Dupire - Feb 11,2018 - Last updated at Feb 12,2018

HRH Princess Alia poses for a photo with Abdo Naseif (Photo courtesy of Abdo Naseif)

AMMAN — After a tragic car accident that left him deprived of his left arm, Abdo Naseif refused to surrender to the despair he initially felt. Forced to renounce his dream of travelling the world as a flight attendant, he turned back to his initial field of study: design. 

Despite studying interior design at Yarmouk University in Irbid and working for two years in design, Naseif had never thought he would end up actualising his passion for drawing and painting, which is currently on display at the One Hand Claps exhibition. 

“After my accident, I had to start adapting and designing new ways to perform my daily activities. When I first came home after 27 days in the hospital, I tried to plug my phone to the charger but I couldn’t do it with one hand as it would always slide away,” Naseif recalled.

“I was forced to readapt entirely to life and learn how to do the most basic things, which generated a lot of negative energy inside me. I quickly realised that all of this grief and anger would not only affect me but my surroundings too, so I convinced myself to find new techniques to develop positive thinking,” Naseif told The Jordan Times. 

The young man started jotting down lines, patterns and mixing colours on pages and canvases to express the conflicting feelings he experienced.

“I found my own way to put a deep meaning into each of my paintings, in order to deliver a positive message to all. I wanted to show people that no one should give up despite the challenges,” Naseif said, remembering how people started approaching him on social media.

“At first, I did not know those people were amputees as well, as they never posted pictures of themselves showing their disability. But, as they started seeing me uploading pictures in a tank top or wearing short sleeves, I was so happy to see that they, too, began to change their profile pictures and show their missing parts,” the artist stated, stressing that “we should not care about what people say or think. I know that this accident has not made me any different from them”.

In his bid to share hope and positivity, the 30-year-old also started uploading homemade videos on social media, in which he shows the tricks he developed to perform daily activities such as tying his shoes, clipping his nails or cleaning the house.

As part of its “Make A Wish” project, the Skyline Sushi restaurant granted Naseif the chance to hold his first ever art exhibition “to spread the spirit of hope and resilience for which he has been advocating”.

Standing in front of one of his paintings, the 30-year-old could not be more proud, voicing hope that his story will help inspire other amputees across the country and all over the world.

Inaugurated by HRH Princess Alia on Saturday, the exhibition features 21 works by the Jordanian artist, which will be on display through February 23 on the top floor of the Landmark Hotel.

“I realised that it is possible to deliver positive messages to the world not only through written words but also through drawing lines and colours,” Naseif recalled, noting that he hopes to spread a chain of hope among his peers.

Acknowledging the luck he has had to benefit from this project, Naseif decided to donate 15 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of his paintings to help make another person with disability’s dream come true. 


“Last summer, I was signed as an ambassador for people with disabilities for the Waragami company, through which I conduct workshops to teach disabled people how to do origami and manual work,” Naseif explained, saying that he feels a “responsibility” to help others going through the same hardship.

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