Abu Dhabi: In a world that is beginning to embrace feminism, identifying a woman's strength and uplifting her rights, a family predominately comprising of women have found their own way to pursue and monetise their hobbies. Violet Mary Andrade (58), Fenella Vanessa Andrade (29) and Renella Lanessa Andrade (20), currently settled in Abu Dhabi, are doing their bit to contribute to art and culture, having the potential and talent to do so.
Renella, who just graduated with a Bachelors' degree in Business Administration from St. Aloysius College, Mangaluru, is an art enthusiast who gives life to her thoughts by puting paints on a canvas and selling them.
As a child, Renella went out of her way to avoid art and turned to her mother for help in her art and craft homework. But one day, when her mother asked her to do it by herself, she realised the difference in her thought pattern and eventually realised her hidden potential. She began gifting her friends and relatives some of her work and seldom purchased paintings from stores. “You can buy anything with money, even happiness for some, but by putting in effort and time, you can truly win someone’s heart," she says.
Thus began her journey in the field of art. She started commercializing her work when she got into college and soon started selling greeting cards, paintings, doodles, sketches and supported her mother who was the sole bread winner for the family. "Business teaches you the value of money and I learnt this lesson at a very young age," she said.
Fenella, who works as a full time HR professional in Abu Dhabi, has also been an art enthusiast for quite some time. She turned to doodling (scribble art) as a way to pass the time till her husband reached home from his office in Dubai. Today, she sells Mandala art, hand-drawn Mandala/doodle world map printed on canvas, greeting cards and hand-drawn waterproof doodle stickers and ships them worldwide.
Violet Mary Andrade works as a nurse at a hospital in Abu Dhabi. Her husband worked in a shipping company till, due to certain reasons, he had to quit his job when Renella was in the 7th standard. Working alone in a city like Abu Dhabi and looking after two daughters is definitely not an easy task.
“People think that those living in the gulf are living a lavish life. But that is not true. There are times when we struggle,” she said. As her daughters supported her with their earning from selling art, she is a happy and proud mother. Her happiness doubled when she ended up making a beanie by herself, within two hours, with the yarn she had bought for her elder daughter. This led her along her own journey along the art-craft path. Today, Violet sells beanies and sweaters for infants and even crochets.
This is how the three women used their hidden talents to pull them through the tough times. They have been mutually carrying on their part-time business, encouraging and supporting each other in ideas from initiation to completion to delivery.
"It helped us grow as a family," Fenella adds.
The products are priced based on the buyers and if there are any festivities around the corner. Regular discounts are also offered.
The trio are also in touch with a group called Rags to Riches, UAE who help infants around the world suffering in the cold and battling for life every single day. The community includes some generous donors who donate yarn/wool and Violet makes beanies and sweaters for these kids, voluntarily. Renella and Fenella say that there is a lot of happiness in giving and the happiness on their mother’s face as she makes these beanies is priceless. Renella also takes up art classes as a part-time business in the UAE.
Marcel Eric Andrade (62), an artist himself, has been a great support to the trio. Like any doting father, he guided his daughters in either transforming their ideas into finished pieces or extending support by giving them time and freedom. The men in the family encouraged them by helping around the house. Their community as a whole, was very supportive by showing them good response by giving them orders.
As social media has become integral to an artist's network, the trio use Facebook, Instagram and other sites to popularize their products. Friends and family also supported them by spreading the word.
"The judgement was constant, but keeping ourselves strong and improving constantly is important," says Renella. "Converting negative influences into positive ones is an important challenge that will help you push your limits," adds Fenella.
To all the women who lack confidence to pursue their hobbies professionally, the trio has this to say: “Follow your passion. Don’t let anything stop you. You don’t know what might happen next. Make every moment worth living and every dream into a reality. Love those who encourage you and keep the words said by those who discourage you in your mind. But don’t let it bring you down."
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