PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred an outpouring of gratitude for frontline workers from Malaysians of all walks of life. One of them is 27-year-old Luqman Hakim, whose artistic talent recently caught the eye of Health Director-General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah himself.
Luqman, who lives in Bandar Baru Bangi, has mild high-functioning autism.
This skilled artist told FMT that he has been drawing since the age of three, after observing his mother and brother who are equally skilled artists.
Luqman admits that living with autism is not easy as he sometimes throws tantrums when things don’t go his way, but he says he is training himself to control his emotions.
“My doctors have done such a great job but it is up to me to be disciplined and continually work on myself.”
On July 1, Luqman decided to take a break from building his art portfolio and was indulging in his usual cup of coffee when an idea struck him, why not draw a portrait of Noor Hisham on this coffee cup?
“He has inspired me in so many ways, especially during the pandemic. He proved that Malaysia is capable of greatness even though we are a small country. That really motivated me to the point that I have cancelled my dream of moving to the US to further my career.”
After completing the piece, Luqman shared the portrait on his Instagram account.
Wanting to encourage his efforts and skills, his friend Hubert Ian Lee shared the portrait on Twitter, and it quickly went viral with internet users fawning over the portrait.
All the positive responses and praise have left Luqman stunned since the last thing he expected was for his drawing to go viral.
The icing on the cake was when Noor Hisham himself retweeted the post stating “Luqman Hakim, you are a very talented artist. It’s not easy to draw this portrait on a Starbucks cup. Thank you and keep up the good work. Indeed you have gifted skills.”
Luqman was over the moon. “Oh my, I would never expect for him to retweet the portrait. He is such a humble and amazing man.
“If I have the opportunity to meet Noor Hisham one day, I would love to tell him that he was the one who inspired me to stay in Malaysia to pursue my career. It may be a tough road ahead, but who else will be the building blocks of this country if not us?”
Grateful for all the attention, Luqman is now focusing his attention on drawing war scenes, such as World War II and the Battle Gaugamela — the decisive battle of Alexander the Great’s invasion of the Persian Empire in 331BC — and Egyptian kings.
Inspired by the sight of the police at work in Bukit Bintang, Luqman is also creating comics about the Malaysian police.
His illustrations can be found on his social media, @luqmanhakimarts.
Luqman has one piece of advice for other autistic artists, “Life is meant to be challenging in order for us to develop ourselves. Take the hurdles life gives you and convert them into fuel to motivate yourself. We are stronger than our limitations.”