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How this royal portrait boosted Qatari national identity

A sense of national identity has been growing steadily in Qatar since the Saudi-led blockade began in June 2017, and it seems as though an image of the Qatari emir has helped it along the way.
Qatari artist Ahmed Bin Majed Al-Maadheed stands next to his painting of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani titled "Glorious Tamim" at a gallery in Doha on July 28, 2017.  
Maadheed's painting of the Qatari Emir has been spread widely on social media since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt broke ties with Qatar on June 5, transforming the artist into a star.  / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE

For the last two years, a portrait of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani adorns many cars, shopwindows, skyscrapers and other public places in Doha. The image — drawn by now famous Qatari artist Ahmed Al Maadheed — is more than a royal portrait or state-sponsored graffiti; it has become a crystallization of the blockade-induced national sentiment.

The growing sense of unity among once disparate Qatari groups is caused by the blockade that was imposed in June 2017 to break Qatar, according to Ross Griffin, assistant professor of postcolonial literature at Qatar University.

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