The inspiring story of an SAE Dubai artist


14 Dec 2016




The inspiring story of an SAE Dubai artist

14 Dec 2016

Despite being nationally celebrated for his artwork, SAE Dubai Graphic Design graduate turned visual artist, Victor Sitali, claims he fell into the profession by chance.

Deaf since the age three, the Dubai-based artist was unsure of his future for the most part of his young life. However, in the past five years since discovering his talent for painting, Victor’s world has exploded in a way he could never have imagined.

For Victor, a chance meeting with art teacher Gulshan Kavarana was a major turning point for the 26-year-old Zambian-bornartist. Gulshan spotted spotted Victor doing sketches at the Dubai Centre for Special Needs and introduced him to the Mawaheb Art Studio, a studio for children and adults with special needs.


With encouragement from the Head of Mawaheb Studio, Wemmy de Maaker, Victor decided to pursue a degree in graphic design at SAE. His studies were made possibly with the support of sign language volunteer Marisa Dietsche, who attended classes with Victor.

“Studying at SAE widened my understanding of art and opened up a new world of creative possibilities. Through studying I gained a background knowledge of art, the benefits of combining soft and hard art, and learned how to form business ideas.

“The fondest memories of my time at SAE were collaborating with the film and audio students to design their posters, logos, film titles and CD covers using Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. I really enjoyed the company of my classmates and SAE’s tutors who made me feel like we were all working as one team,” said Victor.

While being deaf is a social disability, Victor claims his deafness does not affect his work and recognises it’s becoming less of a communication issue due to new technology such as WhatsApp and other social media technologies.

Victor believes that, if anything, his deafness has helped him fine tune his eye for all things visual. Having worked on across many notable art projects, been invited to exhibit his work at elite art galleries in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Holland, undertaken solo exhibitions at the Jumeriah Golf Estate Clubhouse, Victor was recently asked to illustrate the cover and several pages of a book Shared Vision, Shared Voices by the Ministry of State and International Affairs.

At the grand book launch last month, Victor performed a live portrait painting of Her Excellency Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimi, Emirati Minister of State and Managing Director of the Dubai World Expo 2020 bid committee.


Photo: Shared Vision, Shared Voices book design

A multi-talented individual with a wonderful personality, Victor has faced many of life’s challenging moments with a positive attitude. Living by the motto ‘my voice is heard through the work of my hands’, Victor is currently working on art commission projects for upcoming exhibitions in Europe, and paintings for a new hotel in Qatar.

You can see examples of Victor Sitali’s work on his Facebook page here.