A figure of Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf will join the wax celebrity ensemble at Madame Tussauds Dubai.
The Mraytak star met with his waxen counterpart on Tuesday during an unveiling at Ain Dubai, the world’s largest and tallest observation wheel, located on Bluewaters Island.
Assaf, 32, posted pictures from the encounter on his Instagram on Wednesday. A short clip also shows the former Arab Idol winner walking into a room and seeing the waxwork for the first time. The figure will be revealed to the public when Madame Tussauds opens later this year at Caesars Palace Dubai.
Assaf said uncovering his wax figure was “a very special occasion”.
“I am very happy to be featured among some of the biggest names in the world at Madame Tussauds when it opens later this year in the beautiful city of Dubai,” he said. “I am very impressed with the resemblance the figure holds to me and I cannot wait for everyone to visit the attraction and see it.”
To produce the uncanny likeness between Assaf and his figure, an expert team of Madame Tussauds sculptors travelled to Dubai to observe the singer and document his movements.
The team then spent three months in London intricately crafting the figure by hand, even inserting real hair – strand by strand. The wax figure is also decked out in one of Assaf’s own suits, and will have a permanent spot in the venue.
Assaf catapulted to fame when he won the second season of Arab Idol in 2013. The Gaza singer’s victory was watched by millions and ardently celebrated across Palestine.
That same year, he was appointed as a goodwill ambassador for peace by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The Palestinian government also named him an Ambassador for Arts and Culture.
The story of Assaf's journey from the overpopulated Khan Yunis refugee camp to the popular talent show was adapted into the 2015 biopic The Idol. The film was directed by award-winning Paradise Now director Hany Abu-Assad.
Assaf's most recent album, Stories About Palestine, was released this summer and described as a message of love to his home country.
“I do feel that I have a responsibility towards my people to carry their voices, their dreams, their hopes to the world so they can be heard,” Assaf said.
Assaf isn’t the only Arab star to meet their Madame Tussauds lookalike. Last month, Emirati-Yemeni pop star Balqees Fathi was announced as the first star to get a waxwork at the Dubai attraction.
Fathi had said that she was “overwhelmed by the incredible likeness” of the figure and commended the “impeccable attention to detail” that captured her personality.