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Jordanian artist seeks to make art accessible for children with visual impairments

By Joy Mazahreh - Aug 15,2021 - Last updated at Aug 15,2021

Artwork on display at Darat Suheil Gallery in Jabal Luweibdeh (Photo by Joy Mazahreh)

AMMAN — On a balcony viewing Jabal Luweibdeh, artist Suheil Baqaeen told the story of Darat Suheil, an art space and gallery dedicated to teaching art to children with visual impairments.

“As a young student among 50 others in a classroom at a public school, I was always fond of art,” Baqaeen told The Jordan Times. “In a time when art education did not matter, a teacher noticed my talent and put effort into developing it,” he added.

Baqaeen said that after finishing high school he worked in the aviation industry, but still had a passion for art. In the aviation industry, he had the opportunity to travel and visit famous art galleries across the globe, a dream his father always had.

Baqaeen, a member of the World Airline Association Club, held an art workshop in Cannes, France, on the 50th anniversary of the club and sold paintings to support his initiative. 

When Baqaeen’s mother had her leg amputated, the phantom pain she suffered from “ignited the will to turn this suffering into creativity”, he said. This incident inspired him to launch the “Scent of Colour” initiative for youth who suffer from conditions that cause blindness to express themselves through art.

Maya Al Jadaan, one of the participating students in many of Baqaeen’s initiatives, said: “When I draw, I turn what is in my imagination into a real picture.” 

Other than the “Scent of Colour” initiative, Baqaeen holds weekly art workshops every Friday in the streets of Jabal Luweibdeh in Amman, allowing children to express themselves on canvas. 

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