By Ben Garcia
After almost two years without any activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Anfal Bo Hamad, a popular artist with Down syndrome, has participated in several events organized by different organizations. Anfal is thankful for taking part in the joint national policy event for empowering disabled persons at the United Nations House in Mishref, an expo of works by disabled persons at the Avenues Mall, and the biggest art competition organized by Al-Baghli Formative Arts.
“My daughter has always been invited by many organizations and groups and we are happy for that. We only stopped during the last two years because of the pandemic, but now we are on the go again. Anfal always wants to be part of any competition to display her work,” said Najat Al-Reyahi, the ever-loving, caring and supportive mother of Anfal. “Before the pandemic we used to attend activities almost every day. We are now glad that we are back in action,” she added.
The Al-Baghli arts competition is the biggest they have attended so far, while the event held for the disabled at The Avenues was huge as well. “The Al-Baghli Formative Arts completion was the biggest event we attended after the pandemic, and for the first time they included persons with disabilities in their categories. The winners will be announced soon, so we are excited,” Reyahi said.
The painting expo at The Avenues was a display of works by persons with disabilities to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), which is marked on Dec 3 annually. The day promotes the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities at every level of society and development, and raises awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life.
WHO joins the UN in observing this day each year, reinforcing the importance of securing the rights of people with disabilities, so they can participate fully, equally and effectively in society with others, and face no barriers in all aspects of their lives. “Anfal attended it and she displayed her artworks she made during the COVID-19 lockdown. Most of her drawings are related to family values and it was really amazing to display them at the venue,” her mother said.
Anfal, 24, is very talented in many ways. She is a photographer, dancer and stage performer. Her mother calls her a girl with extraordinary talents, and many people in Kuwait admire her for being very active, organized and jovial. “She laughs and smiles with everyone at home and those she knows. She is cheerful, but moody as well. What I like about her is that she follows my orders and never lets me down,” Najat said.
Reyahi was a fine arts teacher for several years, but retired early to concentrate on the needs of her daughter. During the pandemic, the duo participated in several art exhibitions outside Kuwait virtually, including a virtual art competition organized by Saudi Arabia, three in Jordan, twice in Kuwait organized by a group related to persons with disabilities, and once in Qatar.