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  • Writer's pictureMaritta Hamida


Updated: Apr 26

Once upon a time, around half a century ago, there were this young man and that young girl who just had started dating, sitting at a table in a pub. So as the guy enjoyed his cola and talked to his date, one of his friends at a neighbouring table wanted to give him his telephone number. So the young man asked for a pen and grabbed a paper coaster, and quickly scribbled it down. But then, surprising as it was for the girl at least, something magical happened. The young man's hand turned the coaster to the backside and played with the pen, doodling away like it was the most natural thing in the world. Dots and swirls emerged on the coaster, delicate and light. Love filled the air, and just like that, a Muse had kissed a young artist.

The young couple eventually tied the knot, the guy with the pen and the girl who had a thing for art. So, he started doodling on everything, art paper, plain typewriter sheets, napkins and coasters. And he even upgraded to feather pens and ink.

Along the way, as his fan and as his Muse,

the wife decided to surprise her hobby artist husband with an art learning course she ordered from a mail-order catalog. But when she saw it, she worried it might mess with his raw, natural talent, so she sent it back.

But none of the young hobby artist's endeavours seemed to endure. The artist, plagued by perpetual dissatisfaction with his creations, consigned them all to the rubbish bin.

Then, one day, Mohamed Hamida, still a student and apprentice but old enough to share camaraderie with colleagues at work, received a visit from his supervisor and friend for a casual coffee at home. As conversation meandered, it alighted upon Hamida's hobby - painting dots with feather pen and ink. Naturally, the visitor expressed interest in seeing some of his work. Unfortunately, just hours prior, a painting had met its fate in the paper basket. Undeterred, Hamida retrieved the remnants, pieced them together, and presented his art. To his delight, the visitor was thoroughly impressed. From that moment on, the paper basket saw far less unloved artwork.

And among Hamida's creations, the oldest surviving painting is




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