19-year-old Sahl Riyaz breaks barriers to pursue his love for art
Sahl Riyaz, who is 19 years old, was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. But this youngster has beaten his disability to become a successful artist. Sahl, who hails from Kannur, lives with his family in Dubai. He has already been placed with a leading hotel chain in the UAE where he will start working very soon.
19 year old Sahl Riyaz was diagnosed with autism at a young age. But this youngster has beaten his disability to emerge out in flying colours through art. Sahl, who is an established artist in the UAE, has won many awards and recognitions. Sahl has proved that a disability is never a barrier to dream big and achieve heights in life.
Foray into the world of art
Sahl’s family is originally from Kannur in Kerala. But they have been living in Dubai for over two decades now. Though Sahl attended a regular school, he moved out soon. His parents recollect how he was discriminated owing to a disability. So later he started attending a school for children with disabilities.
When Sahl was 15 years old, his mother Shabana Riyaz realised that he was interested in arts. It was during a painting competition that Sahil showed immense love for arts. Ever since then Shabana and her husband Riyaz has been reaching out to Sahl and empowering him in different ways. They started off by showing him YouTube videos to teach painting and drawing. It did work well with Sahl.
We had enrolled him into an art institute in Kerala during our vacations. But they found it difficult to train him. So they gave me training instead so that I could teach him. As parents, we are very supportive in all that he wants to do- Shabana Riyaz, Sahl’s mother.
Sahl’s parents and siblings are his biggest supporters. “I have never taken a brush before. But ever since I realised Sahl’s love for art, I started attending classes and learnt from YouTube videos. I really enjoy teaching Sahl and he is a quick learner. He also loves cooking and is great at screen-printing. He was very hyperactive during child hood. But we have managed to overcome all that”, adds Shabana.
An avid artist
Today, Sahl has over 200 paintings to his credit. Most of his works are done in acrylic. He loves to paint nature.
This youngster has many awards and recognitions to his credit. He was the winner of Santhwanam youth fest held in Dubai for 2017 and 2019 as well.
His works have been showcased at Jebel Ali police station as part of their art exhibition. His works have also been exhibited at Autism Walk and many other Indian events too.
Sahl is all set to complete his vocational training from Al Noor training Centre in Dubai. He even got placed and will start working with a leading hotel chain in UAE in a month’s time. He will continue his painting and screen printing too.
“Support and training for children with autism must start from the family. Try and engage with support groups where you will get to interact with other parents and special educators. A child with autism is special. So you need to work and find their special talents and keep motivating them”, says Shabana.
“When my son was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old, I had no idea about what autism is. As a father, I was determined to support my family. We started giving him therapies from a young age. It is important to accept your child’s disability and reach out to them” says Sahl’s father Riyaz.
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