Safiya Al Bahlani an Omani physically challenged young woman; an artist, creative designer and an inspirational and motivational speaker.
Safiya's short forearms, a deformed left knee, and a short right leg stump was what people could see, however her that was not her only challenge, she is deaf in her right ear, and also has learning disability. Through these disabilities Safiya had found a place to shine with her ability to express herself in arts.
Art began far before Safiya could read and write. It started with scribbles, when Safiya felt upset or angry she would just scribble on paper, not knowing how to express it any other form. Of course Safiya had her happy times where she would express as well, but the real work was when she was feeling down.
Due to Safiya's learning disability she had to jump from different schools, which caused Safiya to express her frustration of continues judgment, and stopped drawing people, rather decided to draw sceneries and then still life art. By then Safiya also started journal logging and use to write a number of endless poetry.
After high school she continued her studies graphic design in Muscat. Where she moved after a year to pursue a different major, animation in Jordan 2007.
While studying animation, Safiya continued painting, and collected 38 pieces of artwork during the three years in Jordan and held her first solo exhibition February 2010.
Returning to Oman, Safiya was job-hunting; with the number of rejections several due to her physical disability. It was time for her start advocating for people with special needs through her arts.
During this process, Safiya met an Omani fashion designer, with 40 paintings, and 20 dresses they held an art exhibition and fashion show, with the theme of His Majesty annual speeches. March 2011.
Safiya started giving inspirational and motivational talks to companies and schools, events, as well as participating in 3 TED X talks, both locally and internationally.
Safiya was determined to carry her message, and advocate for people with special needs. With 70 paintings, Safiya held a second solo exhibition, The Growing Journey, Dec 2012.
Safiya, wanted people to judge her based on her work as an artist. In a very short period Safiya, painted 80 pieces of artwork and held her third solo exhibition Beneath The Surface. April 2013.
Introduced to the iPad and the world of digital art, Safiya started using different types of applications to create art. It made it easier for her and less time consuming. She started growing as a digital artist as well.
Safiya participated in a number programs that British Council held "Art Abled" where Safiya collaborated with various well establish disabled artist from around the world in making art to voice out for disability, holding workshops and exhibitions in Bahrain, U.K and Qatar, April 2014 – March 2015.
In January 2016 yet another solo exhibition Safiya held another solo exhibition Flash Back, where Safiya exhibited a year collection of various emotional path she has gone through.
Through the work Safiya has been doing, Safiya was again invited to Qatar to give a talk on her story while having another solo exhibition Art Speaks. April 2017
Currently Safiya has opened a home business, an art studio and recently launched a small community gallery Safiya Arts Gallery and Studio, where she holds classes and workshops in arts, as she also continues to create her own art, and designs for others.
Safiya's journey doesn't end here; she is always looking for new ideas, and new opportunities for to flourish!