Abdulla Lutfi
Abdulla Lutfi, 26-year-old Emirati artist on the autism spectrum behind Emirates September cover Image Credit: SUPPLIED

Dubai: The work of a super talented artist in the autism spectrum has made it to the cover of a UAE airline inflight magazine.

Emirati artist, Abdulla Lutfi, 26, of Mawaheb from Beautiful People, an art-studio in Dubai for the ‘determined ones’ is the man behind the cover of Emirates’ ice magazine for the month of September.

An Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News that it is the first time a person of determination has been featured on the cover of its inflight magazine. “It truly is special for me. I love what I do and I am good at it,” said Abdulla Lutfi.

Abdulla Lutfi, a brilliant artist, who has been training the last eight years at a Dubai art studio for people of determination, said it took ten days in all for his art work to be approved by UAE’s airline.

For the September cover, this brilliant artist with an eye for detail has created a lively depiction of a flight with customers tuned into different channels on ice, the airline’s inflight entertainment system.

“I enjoyed working on this project as I do in all my projects. I love to draw everything in black and white. It sells,” Abdulla told Gulf News.

Abdulla Lutfi
Abdulla Lutfi with his team of colleagues and mentor at Mawaheb studio Image Credit: SUPPLIED

Patrick Brannelly, Emirates’ Division Vice President – Customer Experience of Emirates said: “In bringing this cover to life, we held a short briefing meeting with Abdulla. I drew a very rough sketch on my whiteboard to explain what we envisaged on the cover. Abdulla is a genius to me. He was able to transform such a sparse brief so brilliantly. He was able to imagine what we wanted and add so much more. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Abdulla and we are really happy with the final result!” he said.

For the record Emirates’ ice magazine is published and distributed on board all flights and serves as a guide for customers exploring over 4,500 channels of entertainment on offer.”

As for Abdulla’s works, they mostly comprise black and white drawings of the U.A.E’s skylines and landscape. They feature an exaggerated, humorous view of everyday Emirati life and they all carry his signature A.L.

Abdulla Lutfi
Abdulla Lutfi signing a book for his fans in Dubai Image Credit: SUPPLIED

It is his attention to detail, his black and white view of the world, and sharp sense of humor which all come through in his works. As an artist on the autistic spectrum, Abdulla sees and interprets the world in a unique and unconventional way. He uses his condition as an advantage because his artwork communicates a powerful message and view of his world that is frequently not represented. He is proud of his amazing memory, attention to detail, and spontaneity of his work. He has given several speed drawing workshops and demonstrations at schools and corporate events.


At 26, Abdulla is an accomplished artist with a ‘sold out solo exhibition’ to his credit. He has fulfilled several commissions from hotels, banks, and also the Dubai International Airport. Abdulla has illustrated a children’s coloring book commissioned by the Embassy of the U.A.E in Washington D.C.

Abdulla also talked about his fascination for Japanese culture and everything Japanese. “I have visited Japan several times. I love everything about the country from its pop culture, anime, their games, icons and landscapes. I hope to marry a Japanese girl one day,” he quipped.

Recalling his journey at the art studio for adults who are ‘determined ones’, Gulshan Kavarana, Abdullah’s mentor and guide at Mawaheb said: “Abdulla came to Mawaheb when he was 18 years old, soon after he finished school. At first, he just wanted to be left alone and not interact with anyone. So I gave him his space. After a few days, I asked him to participate in our group discussions and activities. Surprisingly, he obliged, and since then there has been no looking back. Art has brought a new side of Abdulla. He’s so much more social, he’s confident and most importantly, he has started believing in himself.”

Abdulla Lutfi
Abdulla Lutfi's mention on the cover of Emirates's inflight magazine ice Image Credit: SUPPLIED

“People see him as an artist on the Autism spectrum, but I see him as a genius a true artist,” she added.

So if you are travelling on Emirates during the month of September, don’t forget to pick up the guide to see Abdulla’s work.