Sharjah - Art class creates UAE flag with 65,000 buttons

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Students working to make UAE flag with 65,000 buttons.- Supplied photo

For Adil and the 300 kids of Sharjah Indian School, it was a National Day project that carried an environmental message.

Over the last three months, art teacher Rashida Adil and her students have worked tirelessly on their biggest masterpiece for the UAE: The national flag made of 65,000 buttons.

For Adil and the 300 kids of Sharjah Indian School, it was a National Day project that carried an environmental message.

"I realised that buttons of school uniforms were often discarded and wasted. So, I thought, why not create awareness among students; put these buttons to use; and make something even bigger as a tribute to this beautiful country," Adil said.

She asked the schoolchildren to bring buttons that could be of any size but must be in the colour of the UAE flag. To her surprise, they managed to collect 65,000 buttons.

"I was surprised to see the enthusiasm of the students. Over a period of three months, during every art class, Grade 9 students would gather in a room where we laid the foundations of the UAE flag using wood scraps from used furniture.

"After forming the base of the flag, we then simply used glue to stick the buttons together to form the flag," the teacher said.

They made a falcon, too

The class, however, didn't stop at the buttons and their flag masterpiece. They also gathered hundreds of CDs, screws, keyboard keys, USB ports, and a host of other e-waste to prepare a giant falcon, one of the cultural icons of the UAE.

"We used screws that we removed from different electronic objects, such as motherboards and keyboards, for the beak of the falcon; camera lens for the eyes; and keyboard keys and USB ports for the head. Lastly, we used 500 CDs for its head and tail," Adil said.

The teacher then sat with her Grade 9 students to dismantle the items they got and put them together for the artwork.

Yearly projects

Apart from the two huge art works for the UAE's 48th National Day, Adil and her students have also made hundreds of 'Year of Tolerance' symbols with nails and beautiful thread work.

Every year, the Indian expat - who has been teaching art for 27 years now - picks the theme of the country and helps children unleash their creativity in meaningful art pieces using recycled materials.

"Although I am an art teacher, my main aim is to educate children about the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling waste and creating beautiful things. Through these beautiful artworks they create with scrap materials, they are learning to reduce and reuse waste.

They also get to learn to be economical as they make beautiful pieces of art with zero cost involved.

Last year on National Day, they used 1,148 bottle caps to make a huge portrait of Sheikh Zayed with the skyline as a backdrop. A horse made of e-waste became part of their collection, too.

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