Students holding paintbrushes with their mouths at the Message of Hope workshop at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) Student Centre, yesterday. Abdul Basit
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: Five painters from the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) organisation inspired more than 2,000 students from 18 schools during a Message of Hope workshop yesterday at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) Student Centre.
Holding paintbrush with their mouths, the artists painted stunning landscapes before thousands of students, some of whom were given the opportunity to paint with their mouths in a competition organised as significant part of the two-day event.
“They are lucky they are able to paint brilliantly. It took a lot of patience for them to study painting, spending a lot of time to learn how to paint,” said 10-year-old Mansoor Mansoor from Newton International School.
He said he was inspired by the event and would continue painting although it was not his dream career.
“It was fun, though it was a little bit hard,” said Naslene, a student of the International School of London.
The eight-year-old participant expressed great respect for the artists for what they have achieved despite the challenges they had to face to realise their dreams because of limitations brought about by their physical condition.
“They are very good artists. I learned a lot about them, how they paint which I found interesting,” she said.
With 2,105 students coming to the event, the organisers said that it exceeded their expectations and that they had to divide sessions into three to accommodate all participants, mostly at the elementary level.
The student workshops were only one of the highlights of the event.
Similar inspirational sessions were also held for other sections of the community, including artists, the business and corporate community and for the general public which also attracted thousands of participants.
The participants had the chance to interact with the artists, observing how they paint and asking questions about their lives and experiences in overcoming difficulties and living normal lives.
The artists also delivered a workshop to senior students of Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar, who created paintings using their mouths. The paintings are displayed along with 29 by MFPA painters at an exhibition at the HBKU Gallery which runs until February 14.
In its third edition, Message of Hope is an annual event organised by Hope Qatar Centre for children with special needs to showcase role models and internationally renowned individuals who have challenged their disabilities to become a source of inspiration for others.
While the 2010 edition of the event featured Sujeet Desai, an internationally acclaimed youth ambassador for disabilities who has Down’s syndrome, the following year featured Nick Vujicic, the globally famous motivational speaker who does not have hands or legs.