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Name: Aaya Al-Shamahi
School: Queen Marys High School-Walsall
County: West Midlands
Year: Year 13
Inspiration: I have always been very passionate on art or anything creative for that matter. I can remember being four years old and drawing people constantly (albeit the arms would stick out of their heads, but I guess I could call that artistic experimentation). I have strong views that centre on politics, feminism, society and religion but I have sometimes found it difficult to voice my arguments. But art has given me a platform to express myself in a stronger way than words ever could; it has allowed me to become an activist and raise awareness- all through art. I would say that my personal experiences influence me the most. My identity, my family and what some would call a "clash of cultures". Being brought up a first generation Yemeni in the West, culture and identity is a frequent theme in my artwork. Artists such as the Iranian Shirin Neshat and American- Moroccan Lalla Essaydi both depict similar ideas in their work.
Title: You are not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able with the abilities you have.
Description: This is my final piece on the topic I chose, 'Disability.' I was inspired by brother, Assad, who is 36 and lives with Cerebral Palsy. This is a condition which affects body movement and thus makes him completely dependent on other people as he is unable to walk, talk or feed himself. Of course you would instantly think that his life is miserable or assume, due to his physical restrictions, that he is mentally incapable. Both assumptions are wrong. If you get to know my brother you will find that he is incredibly intelligent and has a great sense of humour. In this piece I wanted to contradict the stereotypical representation of disabled people by painting Assad's portrait in vibrant colours. The two images I chose to paint are of him as a child and an adult, the two merge into each other to show the transformation. Here I am showing that he does not need to be pitied for having a disability and it does not prevent him from enjoying his life. Both portraits, young and old, illustrate how he has dealt with his condition positively since birth.
Medium: Acrylic paint
Width: 59 Height: 84
Keywords: Disability, stereotype