World Cup stars Messi and Bono celebrated as edible art by Palestinian creative

Sarah Odeh reimagined both players using traditional ingredients from her home country

Morocco's goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, also known as Bono, recreated using zaatar and olive oil. Photo: Sarah Odeh
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World Cup fever has yet to die down since Lionel Messi's Argentina stunned Kylian Mbappe's France to lift the golden trophy in Doha.

Morocco's stellar performance in the tournament also inspired a wave of support around the world, as they swept past three perennial tournament favourites Spain, Portugal and Belgium to become the first Arab or African team to compete in the World Cup semi-finals.

Millions used the month-long contest, which ended on December 18, to praise their footballing heroes, and Palestinian artist Sarah Odeh chose one of the most unusual ways to do so: recreating Messi and Morocco's goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, also known as Bono, with food.

The fine arts graduate, who lives in Dubai, used traditional Middle Eastern food to depict the two players, "drawing" the Argentinian player on a kunafa, and the Moroccan goalie using Palestinian olive oil and zaatar.

"I describe my artistry in three words: imaginative, inventive and creative," Odeh tells The National of her artworks, which has since gone viral.

"As an artist, I get inspired by literally anything, it could be my surroundings, nature, a song, a movie, inner feelings, imagination and news," says Odeh, who started combining food and artistry as she looked for "new and unusual ways of drawing".

"I find that creating art with unusual materials is more challenging for me, which feeds my creativity and helps me expand my imagination."

Aside from athletes, Odeh has recreated other personalities using food, including Lebanese actress Maguy Bou Ghosn and Egyptian star Ahmed Helmy.

"Every artwork I create delivers a certain message, sometimes it could be sending my love through my art or spreading awareness about different topics," she says. "I choose different materials to help me deliver the right message."

Odeh used Palestinian olive oil to create Bounou and "convey a message from me and all Palestinians for the love and solidarity we've seen" from the Moroccan team. Some members of the Atlas Lions raised the Palestinian flag when they beat Canada, as well as after their remarkable triumph over Spain.

"Yassine Bounou was outstanding, so I decided to use the well-known Palestinian ingredients zaatar and olive oil specifically for his drawing," she says.

Messi's fame transcends South America, he has scores of fans around the world and specifically the Middle East, as demonstrated by scenes of loud celebrations in the region when Argentina finally clinched the trophy.

"As for Messi, I created an art using kunafa dedicated to all Messi’s supporters to celebrate him winning the World Cup," says Odeh.

Scroll through the gallery below to see images of Messi's homecoming in Argentina after the World Cup

Updated: December 28, 2022, 9:25 AM