Deaf Malaysian artist aims for gold at 10th International Abilympics 2022 in Moscow


Deaf artist Nur Amiratul firmly believes that people with disabilities should harness their strengths and use them as a stepping stone to move forward. Photos: Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation

Nur Amiratul Farahin Ab Rahman, 24, may be deaf, but she isn't allowing her hearing impairment to stand in her way of success.

The Kota Tinggi, Johor-based artist won first place in the painting category at the Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation's (MCR) Abilympics Malaysia competition in 2018. In May next year, she will represent the country at the 10th International Abilympics Vocational Skills Competition to be held in Moscow.

MCR is the coordinating body responsible for organising the national skills competition for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

"I'm happy to have been selected to represent the country after winning first place in the painting category at the national level Abilympics competition. My feelings are mixed between being proud and touched. However, I also feel nervous because I have never participated in a high-level international competition such as this," said Nur Amiratul in an email interview recently.

The International Abilympics is a skills-based competition for PWDs from different countries. Unfortunately, the competition has been put on hold for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nur Amiratul is among 16 people with disabilities from Malaysia vying for a medal at the 10th International Abilympics competition in Moscow. Nur Amiratul is among 16 people with disabilities from Malaysia vying for a medal at the 10th International Abilympics competition in Moscow.

Nur Amiratul is among 16 people with disabilities from Malaysia vying for a medal at the event. Among the categories in the competition are embroidery, floral arrangement, painting, cooking and photography.

These remarkable individuals are living proof that with proper vocational training and support, anyone – regardless of their disability – can reach their highest potential.

The Abilympics isn't just about competition; it brings attention to the quality of work offered by persons with disabilities. Such events help to boost their self-confidence and send out a powerful message that a disability shouldn't stop anyone from achieving their goals.

For the competition, Nur Amiratul will be showcasing her skills in fantasy and nature-themed drawings. To prepare for the competition, she's been undergoing intensive art training at Pasir Gudang's Ibrahim Sultan Polytechnic.

Nur Amiratul (right) and silk hand-painting artist Amran Hamid will be representing Malaysia in the upcoming 10th International Abilympics in Moscow. Nur Amiratul (right) and silk hand-painting artist Amran Hamid will be representing Malaysia in the upcoming 10th International Abilympics in Moscow.

She firmly believes that people with disabilities should harness their strengths and use them as a stepping stone to move forward.

"We are all the same whether as persons with disabilities or as average persons. Every human being is gifted with advantages as well as disadvantages. Therefore, we need to highlight our talents to the community so that they are aware of the abilities of the disabled and indirectly be able to empower the disabled according to their respective fields.

"Don't make every shortcoming an obstacle in achieving your goals," said Nur Amiratul, who works full-time as an artist with the Johor Empowerment of Intellectual Women Association (JEiWA).

Recently, Nur Amiratul's paintings were featured at MCR's fundraising event, "An Art Exhibition Journey to Moscow". In addition, 54 artworks by other Abilympians, PWDs and emerging Malaysian artists were displayed.

The exhibition's objective was to support the works of PWDs and raise funds for the 16 Abilympians who will represent the country in the International Abilympics.The artworks are currently still on sale. A large percentage of the sales will be channelled to the artists while a small portion goes towards the Abilympians' fundraising project.

MCR president Datin Paduka Khatijah Sulieman shared that the cost of sending one participant for the International Abilympics competition in Moscow is about RM15,000.

"This cost includes the registration fee, visa fee, insurance, air ticket, transportation, accommodation, meals and attire for the opening ceremony. We are fortunate to have some of our strategic partners provide training at no cost.

"Due to the pandemic, the International Abilympics competition has been postponed to 2022. Thus there are additional costs that were not factored in earlier such as quarantine costs, as well as the extended period needed for training and awareness."

Khatijah added that sales of the PWDs' artworks will help build their confidence and fulfil their dream of employment opportunities.

"By purchasing these artworks, you will be supporting the artists and the cause of Abilympics Malaysia. It will not only be a form of encouragement for the artists themselves, but also aid our efforts to prepare the Abilympians to participate in the upcoming competition," she said.

To support MCR's "An Art Exhibition Journey to Moscow", go to mcrmalaysia.org or call 019-328 3020 (Faridah Hanam).

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