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Jalal Luqman’s name today is known both locally and internationally. But his journey to becoming the UAE’s first digital artist in the 1990s was not a walk in the park. His passion for computers and art showed at a very young age but reality forced him to make other professional choices first. After dramatic events turned him from wealthy to poor overnight while he was studying in the USA, he managed to finance his business degree with blue-collar jobs, while secretly following art classes in the evening. Jalal’s art, which is sometimes qualified as dark, has gone through different phases, using different kinds of media. He recently published his first book, The Armagondas – Volume 1 – an epic fantasy graphic novel inspired by true events.
In this interview, the artist explains his long journey and remembers life as a child in the UAE, when his father worked as one of the first lawyers in the country.
Caption: Book Signing during Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2018
Nathalie Gillet: Before we speak about your artwork and the novel that you recently published, can you tell us about your long journey of becoming an artist and now an author?
Jalal Luqman: I always say that I stumbled into the arts world. I never intended to be an artist, but I guess I was dragged into it by the elements. I did some commercial art for three months for a client a long time ago and I didn’t know they had secretly applied for an art exhibition for me. Had I known of course I wouldn’t have given them all the samples that they needed, because I always thought that becoming an artist was something very big, and I did not deserve to be called an artist (…)