4500 kilometres away from Dubai, in the sleepy Bulgarian village of Staro Zhelezare, a wall bears a graffiti mural of none other than His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
We know what you’re thinking – “What the heck?”
Well, the reason for this oddly placed depiction of Dubai’s leader comes from a local artist’s brilliant idea to put his village on the world map, harnessing the appeal of celebrities to draw tourists to this once forgotten place.
Ventsisla Piryankov decided to go ahead and paint murals of everyone from the Dalai Lama and Barack Obama to Margaret Thatcher and Fidel Castro on the outside walls of Staro Zhelezare’s rustic houses.
What makes his art all the more impressive and amusing is the fact that many of these iconic figures are pictured alongside actual villagers, engaging in casual conversations and having a laugh together.
The murals, which resemble charcoal drawings, were painted by Ventsisla Piryankov and 20 art students.
Manouela Kostadinova, A Bulgarian woman who’s worked in Dubai, suggested that Piryankov add Sheikh Mohammed to the list of celebs that should grace the walls of Staro Zhelezare, The National reported.
"I saw many people who respect Sheikh Mohammed’s name," the daily quoted Mrs Kostadinova as saying.
"He is a leader with a lot of talent, many skills and a lot of support from his people and this all brings results."
His graffiti portrait is painted alongside that of Boris III, a former Bulgarian king, and the late patriarch Cyril of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.