The Qatari artist behind the viral image of the Emir that has been plastered on cars, walls and t-shirts across the country said he is “grateful” his work is so popular.
“It’s my duty, the least I can do, as a Qatari creative artist to show my support and stand by the Emir,” Ahmed Almaadheed told Doha News, referencing the pressure the country’s leader has been under since the GCC crisis began.
Almaadheed revealed that the drawing had actually started out as car art for Qatar National Day 2016.
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“Then, at the beginning of the Qatar crisis I recreated it on a canvas to translate my feelings about the current situation in Qatar,” he said.
Almaadheed’s new drawing of the Emir has “Glorious Tamim” written in Arabic beneath it, and is now a popular way to express support for the Emir during these turbulent times.
Aware of this, Almaadheed has made his artwork freely available via his Instagram account, which has almost 50,000 followers.
He told Doha News that he noticed soon after the crisis began that the portrait was spreading widely on social media.
“Many people had also printed the portrait on stickers which were being distributed all over Qatar,” he added. “This was all done by these people themselves, without any planned campaign.”
The image can now be seen on car stickers across Qatar, as well as on posters, video billboards and t-shirts.
Last week, Qatar’s national football team sported the art on their warmup jerseys to express their solidarity before a match.
They now face possible action from FIFA for the action.
— الاتحاد القطري لكرة القدم (@QFA) June 13, 2017
This is because FIFA rules, “political, religious or commercial messages” are banned from being displayed on the pitch.
Meanwhile, QPost has produced a patriotic set of new stamps entitled “Tamim Al Majd” (Tamim is glory).
“This initiative has been taken under (the) current political situation being faced by Qatar,” Q-Post Chairman Faleh Al Naemi told Peninsula.
He added that the stamps had been issued “to express solidarity and unity with the people, leadership, country and government’s decisions in current situation.”
Almaadheed owns Notion Media, a Qatari company that has produced designs for groups including Qatar Foundation, the economy ministry’s Consumer Protection Department and the Asian Cup.
He told Doha News that he had been drawing since he was a child, and that he was entirely self-taught.
Stickers of Sheikh Tamim can be found at most auto repair shops, ordered online or picked up for free from bookstores or the Corniche during the daily Ramadan car parade.