Self-portrait of Ahmed Nabeeh
We all dread that day. The day we graduate from college and start looking for jobs. It's a road that we must inevitably walk down, even though the prospect of being a full-fledged adult weighs down on our shoulders like a heavy boulder. I know for a fact that confronting such a day sends quite the shiver down my spine. But some people have walked down that path before us, youngsters could even take the first step into college. He has made quite a name for himself back in his country of the Maldives, and that individual is none other than Ahmed Nabeeh Abdul Sattar!
Ahmed Nabeeh is a 27-year-old Maldivian graphic designer currently residing in Penang, Malaysia. He prides himself on being a very "artsy" guy who's all about multimedia. He's always had a passion for creativity that dates back to his days as a young child. As a little boy, he said he loved to draw and colour, a hobby that was encouraged and nurtured by his mother. A humorous anecdote he shared was that he could only sit still during meal times after his mother gave him a paper and a box of coloured pencils to help him let loose in his creativity.
It was during his days in middle school that Nabeeh cultivated his passion for graphic designing. This transpired after one of his leading teachers encouraged him to make a banner for his school that represented its core values. For a middle schooler, it's safe to say this was his first big project in graphic design, and to have partaken in such an achievement at a young age is all the more astounding. "I was surprised to see it on display upon the pillars, even on my last visit home. It is satisfying to see it still in-use, close to a decade after I designed it", he says.
Dharamuvantha School’s ‘Core Value’ banners designed by Ahmed Nabeeh
(circa 2009). Photo by Ahmed Nabeeh
Now, what he considered to be his biggest project to this day was when he was tasked to handle promotions for the famed musical production, Wizard of Oz. Nabeeh was given the creative freedom to do whatever he wanted for the billboard design of the musical. "I got to create something from scratch. Based on my own ideas, using my own colour scheme. That was a really satisfying project. And it was one of my first projects to be featured on a billboard as well. To see it on that scale was very exciting." He fondly recollected his time working on the project.
Wizard of Oz Poster and Billboard display. Photo by Ahmed Nabeeh
When talking about what drives him, Nabeeh simply states that it was solely just his passion to pursue the arts. This passion led him to rebel a little bit and prove to his parents that his ambition to become a graphic designer is a real and good career move for him. Nabeeh stresses the fact that he works a full-time job and not as a freelancer, so dealing with clients and their feedback sessions are considered one of the most stressful parts of the job for him. He ends his answer on a positive note, saying that seeing his work "out there and published for all to see" is what drives him at the end of the day.
When my conversation with him was coming to a close, Nabeeh parted with some words of wisdom for people wanting to work in multimedia. He spoke in a mix of his native Dhivehi and English to get his advice across much easier, which I have roughly translated:
"If you're passionate enough about it, you will always find a way. Start young, and don't say you're not ready and just wait around. When you are young, just keep putting your artworks and other content out there on platforms such as Instagram. Don't ever feel like your content isn't good enough. Just put it out there. And when people send you feedback, always listen and make the right corrections next time around."
You can find him on Instagram under the handle @a.nabeeh where he mostly posts his commissioned artworks and passion projects, truly a place filled with awe and inspiration!
By: Adam Ali