x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Cartoons raise awareness of Dubai's Expo 2020 bid

Artist’s creations will allow people to learn about the bid from images, adding a simple and fun perspective to a complex process.

Artist Khaled bin Hamad hopes his series of four cartoons about an Emirati family will help educate residents about Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020, how it will affect them and what the event will bring to the UAE. Courtesy Expo 2020
Artist Khaled bin Hamad hopes his series of four cartoons about an Emirati family will help educate residents about Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020, how it will affect them and what the event will bring to the UAE. Courtesy Expo 2020

DUBAI // A cartoon series about an Emirati family and their fun-loving son Nahyan has been chosen to help raise people’s awareness of Dubai’s bid to host Expo 2020.

Artist Khaled bin Hamad’s creations will feature in a series of comic-book stories that will appear online, through social media and as advertisements and posters across the country.

People can read about Nahyan’s exploits in four different stories being released during Ramadan.

Each will focus on a separate part of the Expo2020 bid from a simple and fun perspective.

“The cartoons, for them to work, need to be very simple,” Bin Hamad said. “When it comes to storyboarding, we are just explaining Expo 2020 in a creative way.

“Most people in the region hear all the time about Expo 2020 but it is still vague, they don’t know exactly what it is an how it is going to affect them personally. It is one of the biggest events in history.

“Through this you’ll learn from images, more than just reading about it.”

Dubai is one of five cities bidding to host the world’s fair in 2020, with the winner expected to be announced in November.

The other hopefuls are Izmir in Turkey, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The fairs can last up to six months and generate a boom in tourism, construction, trade, transport and logistics.

“Nahyan will be a young man by the time the expo comes round, so he represents the future,” Bin Hamad said. “The family’s grandfather represents the past, the parents represent now, the present, and the girls represent females who are powerful and young.”

Bin Hamad, who honed his creative skills while at university in Japan, said Expo 2020 could mean great things for the UAE.

“This project is a big deal for everyone. I wanted to be part of the cause because it is a huge opportunity,” he said.

“It is going to lead to more jobs, more support for the country and make the country boom.

“It will open up the world to a new culture. The UAE is like the gate between the East and the West. It is going to be the first time an expo will be held in this region, so that is pretty impressive.”

Nahyan’s Expo Adventures previewed at the Middle East Film and Comicon in Dubai in April. The comics will be presented in  English and Arabic.

Bin Hamad, who has been working on an Emirati sci-fi comic book called Nasser’s Secrets and is trying to set up his own production company, hopes the cartoon could be made into an animated series.

Dubai officials have said winning the Expo 2020 bid would accelerate Dh5 billion plans to extend the city’s metro system.

An initiative called Expo Live, aimed at solving major global problems, and a Dh489.6 million Expo Partnership Fund to support innovation were also recently announced by Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

ksinclair@thenational.ae