Visually Impaired Young ‘Saudi Picasso’ Exhibits 50 Abstract Paintings


RIYADH: Visually challenged artist Mishal Al-Shoebi, 16, who has produced 50 abstract paintings, has been dubbed the “Saudi Picasso” by local creatives.

Al-Shoeibi has a solo exhibition titled “The Seeing Eye” at Ahlam Gallery in the capital.

The budding artist has a sensory processing disorder that makes it difficult for him to see objects up close and causes him to wear very thick glasses.

He is currently a ninth grade student at Beacon School for Youth with Learning Difficulties in Bahrain.

In recognition of his work, Dec. On the 20th, Al-Shoeibi was appointed ambassador of the Association for Disabled Children by the organization’s president, Prince Sultan bin Salman.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of his works will benefit the association’s painting program for children.

He started drawing and painting at the age of 9 and has now become an accomplished artist.

Impressed by his creativity, al-Shoebi’s aunt, the artist Shatan al-Tuwaijri, took him under her wing.

“I never influenced Mishal. He has a style of his own that has grown a lot since his debut single. All I do is guide him in cleaning the brushes, mixing the colors to keep the colors clean on the canvas.

She describes her nephew as “absolutely talented” and never fails to amaze her with his skills every time he starts a new painting.

When we met Mishal and learned about his creative practices and his desire to exhibit his latest artworks, we felt it was important to support him as a talented emerging artist.

Ahlam Alsheduki, founder of Ahlam Gallery

“Mishaal is artistic in every way… He has a great ear for music… He has a unique sense of style… Very curious when it comes to art… He loves to visit art galleries and museums wherever he goes.”

To hone his craft, Al-Tuwaijri said he gave himself a challenge to create about 40 artworks in 30 days for a solo exhibition, which he has now done with 50.

Al-Shoebi said: “The eyes are what inspire me to do my works of art, because I wear glasses and I want the world to see the eyes without them (glasses). I think it is the most important part of the body.

His creative process is a form of therapy. “When I make art, it makes me feel relaxed and in my own place.”

His mother, Noura Al-Tuwaijri, says she is proud of his dedication. “He is very persistent and highly motivated to paint. He believes in himself and fights against all odds. He finds his liberation in art, which makes him a very mature person.

“Abstract art is his thing. Reactions from renowned Saudi artists have been overwhelmingly positive, with artists dubbing him the ‘Saudi Picasso of this age’ and all commenting on how his paintings are mature beyond his years.”

Ahlam Gallery founder Dr. Ahlam Alsheduki said: At the age of 16, he was the youngest artist to hold a solo exhibition at Ahlam Gallery. When we met Mishal and learned about his creative practices and his desire to exhibit his latest artworks, we felt it was important to support him as a talented emerging artist.

Al-Shoebi’s exhibition at the gallery was originally scheduled to end on December 21, but was extended until December 28 due to high demand.

“Mishaal’s exhibition ‘The Seeing Eye’ was a huge success for many reasons. The collection was built over the last three years and beautifully showcases the personality and character of the artist. Hearing Mishal talk about his sources of inspiration shows his passion and love for his art. He has a story for almost every artwork,” added Alsheduki.

He noted that al-Shoeibi’s “quality of artwork centered around portraits of himself or people in his life was very high … the subject matter was in a distinctive style and full of pure emotion”.

Ahlam Gallery is a commercial enterprise that engages with local and international artists.

To explore Al-Shoebi’s artwork, visit his Instagram @artbigmish.


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