By Hanan Alnufaie
A YOUNG Malaysian boy stole the limelight at Riyadh International Book Fair by showcasing his painting skills.
In the presence of Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Turaifi and other top-ranking officials from the Kingdom and Malaysia, 14-year-old Naim Hamid Hamidin opened a display of his works at the Malaysian pavilion unveiling a portrait of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.
“We in Malaysia love King Salman so much and I decided to open my work with a portrait of the king to show our love and appreciation for him,” Hamidin said.
Working continuously throughout the days of the book fair, Hamidin painted on the walls of the pavilion important landmarks of Malaysia such as the Petronas Twin Tower; traditional dance performances from the country; the hornbill, which is the official bird of the Malaysian state of Sarawak; Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Malaysia; Rafflesia, the biggest flower in the world which is found only on the Kinabalu; and Nasi Lemak, a famous Malaysian cuisine.
“I want to use this great opportunity to introduce Saudis to our culture,” Hamidin said.
His plan is to complete the project before the book fair concludes. He has used different colors to make the wall to look real.
Hamidin said he received support and encouragement from his family and teachers in school when they noticed his talent when he was just 10 years old.
“I started by doing portraits of people when they requested me to do so,” he said. Later, he directed his attention to bigger projects with different themes.
Hamidin was happy and grateful for the chance to participate in the Riyadh book fair.
“It is my first time to travel overseas to represent Malaysia with my paintings. I could not believe my ears when they nominated me to participate in the fair and I never thought I would become this famous,” the young painter said, exuding his excitement in taking part in the fair.