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Special Olympics Displays 'Flowers of Hope' at The Galleria

Special Olympics UAE installs Flowers of Hope, a sculpture conceived by Emirati artist Azza Al Qubaisi and crafted in collaboration with 54 People of Determination, their friends and family.

  • Special Olympics UAE installs first public sculpture crafted in direct collaboration with people of determination.
  • Flowers of Hope will be on display at The Galleria Al Maryah Island, the leading lifestyle and shopping destination in Abu Dhabi., on Level 2 in the south wing.

Special Olympics UAE (SO UAE) installs Flowers of Hope, a sculpture conceived by Emirati artist Azza Al Qubaisi and crafted in collaboration with 54 People of Determination, their friends and family.

Flowers of Hope marks the first public artwork crafted in direct collaboration with artists of determination in the region and Special Olympics UAE intends for it to be the first of many as part of the Special Olympics Unified Arts program. The Unified Arts program utilizes arts as a unifying activity in much the same way as sports.

In creating the Flowers of Hope, participating artists were delivered art materials to their homes across the UAE and engaged together online while painting at home with family and friends. Ali bin Sumadiaa, SO UAE Golf Athlete and Flowers of Hope artist had this to say, “I really enjoyed painting with my family at home and with my friends on Zoom. I want people to come and see the sculpture so they can get to see me in my painting.”

Flowers of Hope is made up of seven flowers representing the seven Emirates. The flowers are created from the decorated palm fronds of each participating artist. The flowers are held in metal bases crafted by artist, Azza Al Quabiasi. Azza sees the message as a simple one. “Flowers represent giving, caring and appreciation of others. Over fifty artists joined together to show appreciation through the creation of Flowers of Hope. In a year where so many have suffered loss this sends a message of hope to the nation through our collective creativity. We hope that everyone will be able to enjoy and connect with this simple beauty of the flowers.”

Special Olympics UAE National Director, HE Talal Al Hashami reflects on the artwork’s significance, “As always, our athletes and their families have been at the foremost of our work during COVID-19. All our efforts have focused on ensuring there are opportunities to stay active, fit and most importantly, engaged with the community. Creating an artwork on the scale of Flowers of Hope is a great achievement but having created this work amidst the challenges of the current pandemic further illustrate the resiliency and enthusiasm we see in our athletes every day. We are very thankful to Mubadala and The Galleria Al Maryah Island for supporting the installation and allowing this message of Hope and Unity to be available for the community to experience firsthand.”

Mubadala originally started their association with Special Olympics as Official Partners of both the MENA Games 2018 and World Games in March 2019. The relationship has continued via partnerships with Unified Football which was forced to pause due to COVID-19 restrictions, however allowing the display of the Flowers of Hope within The Galleria, an asset owned by the investment company, solidifies the intent to support SO UAE going forward.

Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO and Chief Corporate & Human Capital Officer, Mubadala, added: “Our continued support for the Special Olympics UAE demonstrates our commitment to creating a more inclusive and enriching society for People of Determination. We are honoured to display it at its new home at The Galleria, where it can continue to inspire our community.”

Flowers of Hope will be on display in The Galleria Al Maryah Island on Level 2, in the south wing.

David Robinson, General Manager for The Galleria Al Maryah Island commented, “We are delighted to be showcasing Flowers of Hope together with Mubadala and the Special Olympics UAE. As a destination for the community, The Galleria is fully supportive of local arts initiatives. It gives us great pleasure to exclusively exhibit this inspiring artwork in support of the Special Olympics UAE and its athletes.”

Beyond Abu Dhabi, the story of Flowers of Hope will be showcased during Abu Dhabi Art 2020 which is being held virtually this year from 19-22 November 2020. For more information on Flowers of Hope and Special Olympics Unified Arts programs please contact unified.arts@specialolympics.ae.