The appearance of an autistic Emirati artist in the official theme song for Expo 2020 Dubai enabled diverse communities across the city – from artistic fraternity to determined people – to celebrate this momentous moment.
Speaking to the Khaleej Times, Abdullah Lutfi said he was in seventh heaven after appearing in the video announcing the “biggest spectacle in the world”. Not only did this describe him as a regular talented Dubai artist, it also made him feel honored to be featured alongside some of the biggest stars in the Arab world, such as Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi. and nominated for the Lebanese-American Grammy. singer and songwriter Mayssa Karaa.
Abdulla – who bears the artistic signature “AL” – is a dynamic and well-established Emirati artist. He has been creating art since he was a child and uses drawing as a means of communication even before he can speak.
In the Expo video, Lutfi is featured for approximately 10 seconds, where he is shown working on a canvas and walking around the venue, marveling at the beautiful structures. But the 28-year-old and his artistic mentor Gulshan Kavarana said those precious seconds of recognition worked wonders for his self-confidence.
Savoring the big on-screen opportunity, Abdulla said: “I am very grateful to my country for giving me this opportunity to make my family and friends proud of me by showing up on this huge platform. feel so confident and want to work harder now to make my country and community proud. This, for me, also proves that being a determined person is not a downside if you live in an inclusive country like the United Arab Emirates . “
Speaking of the VIP treatment he received at the Expo site while filming the video, he recalls, “It was absolutely amazing to be treated like a celebrity there. I was greeted by a team of volunteers, provided with a vanity van, food of my choice and trendy clothes, like the celebrities.
“I was then given a canvas and carte blanche to draw the buildings and characters of my choice,” he continued. “And although I drew my characters with only a black marker, as black and white is my art style, it was amazing how my characters were given rainbow colors and come to life in the video. using digital technology. “
As an artist on the autism spectrum, Abdulla sees and interprets the world in a unique and unconventional way. As a determined person, he considers his art to be particularly important in his contribution to society, as it allows him to communicate a view of the world that is often not represented.
The youngster is well known for his incredible memory, his attention to detail and the spontaneity he brings to his work. He considers art as his link with the world around him.
Abdulla is currently working in his art studio, NEXT Chapter, in Tashkeel, Al Fahidi alongside Gulshan, who has worked with him since the start of his formal artistic journey in 2010.
Gulshan was the first to spot his talent and was dedicated to helping him find his artistic voice. As a mentor, she guides him in the planning and execution of his work, organizes his professional life and challenges him to grow as an individual.
“The Expo brought Abdullah a lot of awareness and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing since the official theme song video was released. My inbox is also flooded with businesses asking to work with Abdullah, ”Gulshan told the Khaleej Times.
Speaking about Abdulla’s work at the Expo, she said: “The Expo team approached Abdulla about two years ago. They shared a few interpretations of what the site would look like, which they wanted to appear in his paintings. Abdulla observed them and created his own version of these buildings.
Gulshan says she has watched the Expo video countless times after it was made. “What’s amazing is that the Expo team gave Abdullah such a massive platform without even saying a word about being on the autism spectrum. in itself says a lot about the value the UAE places on its people.I love this country for being the most inclusive in the world.
She now invites the world to see it for themselves. “Come to Expo 2020 Dubai and see how inclusive it is for everyone. They made it particularly accessible to determined people. They even have quiet rooms for people with autism. There is so much going on for the hearing and visually impaired – and the site is also very wheelchair accessible. The world should come to the United Arab Emirates and see what inclusiveness means. “