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Emirati artist is ready for the big league.

If you've never heard of Khalid Bin Hamad, it's time to take notice. The illustrator and artist is all set to launch his graphic novel aACAyNasser's Secrets' an anime series with an Emirati twist. And that's not all: Bin Hamad has also just been commissioned by the organisers of Dubai's Expo 2020 bid to create a comic strip. Both projects were revealed at the Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) on Friday.

Abu Dhabi-born Bin Hamad, whose love for the art form was bred while at university in Osaka, Japan, said it's been a dream come true.

"I fell in love with anime in Japan and studied sketching and character design for two years," he said. "I could have done something traditional but there's a lot of that already. I wanted to do something different."

He said his love for storytelling began many years ago when he read an Arabic book called aACAy80 Years Searching for an Exit'. "The author of the book died before finishing it and I have built stories in my head imagining how that story would end, letting my mind run wild."

aACAyNasser's Secrets', about three teenagers who mysteriously disappear and resurface three days later aged 15, took a year to conceptualise, he said. While he's only releasing a prologue for now, a full series will follow.

Right now, he is busy creating stories for aACAyNahyan's Expo Adventures' a comic strip he's been tasked to create for Dubai's bid for Expo 2020.

"It's about a boy, Nahyan, who knows everything," he said. "We chose a very Emirati name to reflect the idea of Expo 2020."

The strip, to be serialised in advertisements and posters, will follow the young Nahyan, as he uncovers information about the bid for the global exposition along with his sister, Shamma, grandfather Al Walid and parents Bu Nahyan and Umm Nahyan.

Judges for Expo 2020 will vote for the winning city later this year with Dubai competing against Izmir in Turkey, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Yakaterinberg in Russian and Brazil's Sao Paulo.

"We believe in the cause and want to do everything we can to help Dubai win it," Bin Hamad said.

*For more on Khalid Bin Hamad, go to

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Apr 7, 2013
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