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Okongola art exhibition by Victor Sitali

“The fact I cannot hear has no doubt helped to fine tune my eye for all things visual.” says Victor Sitali of his work. Sitali’s unique vision is fast leading him to becoming one of UAE’s most highly-regarded and innovative painters. Working mainly with oil-on-canvas, Sitali creates highly figurative canvases that expand the traditional parameters of portraiture. Much of his work in the Okongola, which means ‘beautiful’ in his Nyanja Zambian language, uses his African background as its theme and narrative. “I have had a passion for painting portraits. The vibrant colours that African women wear always caught my eye as a child in Zambia, and I felt the desire to capture this using my brush techniques and paint.” explains Victor.

Create Hub is the only gallery in the Middle East that focuses on emerging African artists. Founder and Managing Director, Lidija Khachatourian says “it is a huge privilege to have such a massively talented African painter, and locally-based artist, feature in our gallery. We are additionally proud to be showing an artist who has had to overcome such an huge adversity, however that is only one part of the story, Victor’s brilliance and talent would scream out regardless of knowing his background.”

Victor Sitali, now 26, grew up in Zambia, losing his hearing and speech at the early age of two. Sitali moved to Dubai in 2006, and with the help of Al Fahidi-based art organisation Mawaheb, he developed his painting skills under the supervision of the studio’s founder, Wemmy de Maaker. Through Mawaheb, Sitali was also able to forge a friendship with UK artist Trevor Waugh, who further developed and honed his talent.

Over the years, Victor has gained confidence in his artistic abilities and works as a part time graphics designer, photographer and camera operator while continuing his participation in various sports activities. As Sitali, who only communicates through sign language, says: ‘A voice can be heard not only by sound, but through the work of hands.’

‘Okongola’ will open on 6th February at Create Hub Gallery, Warehouse #4, Al Quoz 3 until 24th February 2018 . For queries regarding the gallery or the exhibition email

About Create Hub Gallery

Vibrant, diverse and innovative, Create Hub Gallery presents a one-of-a-kind experience in the Dubai art scene. The gallery promotes internationally acclaimed artists from around the world, with a special emphasis on work by emerging African artists. Through a dynamic program of exhibitions and projects, Create Hub strives to present multi-sensory experiences from some of Africa’s most exciting artists, whilst drawing attention to the contemporary African art scene as one brimming with creative energy, new ideas, and world-class talent.

With its stunning venue, the gallery has realized its ambition to be a hub that brings together diverse communities for the celebration of expressions of African culture that moves beyond the enjoyment of art. Create Hub is the proud host of parties, fashion shows, product launches and more; a varied list of events for the appreciation of talent, innovation and entrepreneurship that is connected by an African theme.

Create Hub’s founder and Managing Director, Lidija Khachatourian, has had a lengthy career immersed in exploration of art from Africa and its diaspora, producing shows and exhibitions in Dubai since 2014. Lidija works as an international artist representative, art consultant and exhibition organiser, contributing to the Dubai art scene through popup exhibitions in various locations, as well as exhibitions in Create Hub Gallery, of works that portray the African continent’s dynamic role in the global arts scene.