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A Talented M'sian Artist Is Finally Getting The Attention He Deserves After Viral Fame

Luqman's work hasn't received much attention on social media, nor has there been any coverage.

Cover image via [email protected]

Meet Luqman Hakim Mohd Khialdin

A resident of a township in Hulu Langat, Selangor, Luqman has been drawing since he was a child.

The 27-year-old recently went viral for his sketch of a Malaysian doctor, who has become the face of the country's battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Luqman's viral fame came after his friend Hubert Ian Lee shared the sketch on Twitter, following which the Health D-G himself noticed it and heaped praised on his fellow Malaysian.

What seems to have captured everyone's attention about Luqman's sketch of Dr Noor Hisham is how detailed it is given that he drew it on a disposable coffee cup from Starbucks.

Both his friend's tweet, that was posted on Wednesday night, 1 July, and the Health D-G tweet on Thursday, 2 July, has attracted thousands of retweets and numerous accolades for the talented artist.

Before his viral fame earlier this week, Luqman's work hasn't received much attention on social media, nor has there been any coverage

His social media accounts barely have any engagement from his handful of followers, despite the fact that he has been regularly posting on them for years, according to a review of his accounts by SAYS.

For example, his own tweet where he shared Dr Noor Hisham's sketch has received less than 100 retweets - compared to over a thousand retweets his friend, Lee, received for his tweet, posted the same day.

However, thanks to his friend's viral tweet, Luqman is finally getting the attention he deserves.

Malay Mail has picked up his story, he is currently giving interviews to other outlets including JUICE, a leading pop culture portal in the country, and Starbucks Malaysia shared his sketch.

In fact, the viral fame has sort of disrupted his normal routine so much that last night, Luqman had to send out a tweet apologising to everyone trying to reach him for a bite.

Luqman shared with us that he has autism.

He often portrays his subjects as superheroes and warriors because doing so allows him to "live his fantasy to be like those figures".

He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and while he could not fight his bullies as an autistic person, he likes portraying his subject matters as superheroes and warriors.

"Due to my obsessive personality, I am very obsessive with details and muscular figures," he told SAYS while sharing with us how he faces a lot of rejection and discrimination as an autistic person.

As a child, he was often bullied and it was hard for him to communicate.

According to Luqman, his parents discovered his passion for drawing

He said that as a child he was always running around, screaming quite a lot.

"Both my mom and dad always kept a paper and pen in a bag to help me calm down in public," he told us, adding that that's how he started sketching, first as a hobby and then professionally.

Growing up with autism, Luqman didn't have an easy, or what others would say, a normal life.

According to him, it was tough making friends or even socialising.

It is full of anxiety, fear, and pain.
Luqman

He would often run away, without a shirt, from the hostel when he was pursuing his diploma in creative multimedia at Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah (UniSHAMS).

"I was scared of being bullied by strangers in my room," he said, adding that he would "cry like an idiot".

He shared that drawing, however, has helped him manage his rage even though it's not easy.

When we asked the Bandar Baru Bangi resident what was the thought process behind sketching the Health D-G on a Starbucks cup, Luqman shared that he is a fan — of both Dr Noor Hisham and Starbucks

According to him, it happened on Wednesday, while he was taking a break.

"I've been thinking about sketching Dr Noor Hisham's portrait. Since I am a fan of Starbucks, I tell myself why don't I draw it on a Starbucks cup to express my admiration for how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

That sketch took about an hour.

He said that he is grateful towards his friend, Lee, for sharing the art through his account.

"Suddenly, it went viral and I was so surprised when Dr Noor Hisham noticed it," he said, adding that while he hasn't yet received any communication from his office, he is happy to have paid a tribute.

What's next for the talented artist?

He shared that he is working on a comic about the Special Actions Unit (UTK).

The UTK is an elite Special Forces (Commando) and Tactical Unit of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

However, according to Luqman, the UTK project is still in the proposal stage with a publisher.

Dr Noor Hisham has been the inspiration for many artists as of late:

Last year, another artist with autism made headlines:

Meanwhile, in January this year, a Malaysian film about an autistic young man created history by winning the award for Best Feature Film at the 59th Asia Pacific Film Festival in Macau:

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