Painting through the pandemic to “give people happiness at this time”

Said Dahdouh, 63, is an artist in Islington who likes to paint landscapes, still life and flowers. During the pandemic, Kate, a volunteer at Help on Your Doorstep, is regularly phoning Said to make sure he feels less lonely at home. Here’s his story as told by Kate.

Said is an artist, with the goal to share his art. “I learnt to paint when I was a small boy in Morocco. I would watch my father. I like to use my imagination rather than copy images”. 

Sadly Said was involved in a car accident that has left him with chronic back pain and he experiences bouts of depression.  He was referred to Help on Your Doorstep (HOYD) by his G.P in 2017. He described how he felt at that time “I was falling apart, Gabi HOYD Advisor helped me to get myself together.” 

During the COVID19 pandemic I have been supporting Said as volunteer with the Befriending Team. Said was describing his artwork to me, saying he loved to paint landscapes, still life and flowers. He revealed that he would like to share his art by sending me some photos, so we set up WhatsApp so he could take photos of his art work to share, and I would send back photos of irises and flowers that I saw when I walked around the neighbourhood. During lockdown Said has expressed how proud it has made him feel to be sharing his art and how the encouragement has inspired to paint again. He has just finished painting dolphins on terracotta pots.  

Said has shared stories of his life in Morocco and how he loved to paint so much he would paint large murals on walls. He sent me photos of a beautiful mural he painted of the Caves of Hercules, near Tangier, his home town. I researched the caves and we discussed their formation, proximity to Gibraltar and the myths and legends surrounding the caves. Said has a goal to paint a mural in his local area on a community wall, or school. His idea is to paint a mural to “give people happiness at this time”. 

Said would love to paint a mural to brighten the day for others in Islington. You can have a look at some more of his work below. If you are interested, please get in touch and we’ll make sure to put you in touch with the artist!  



HOYD provides wellbeing and befriending calls, and will also start providing online services soon. You can visit their website to stay tuned.

Money from the Islington Giving Crisis Fund went towards supporting HOYD to deliver these services. 

Thank you for sharing this story, Kate and Said!  


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