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Romy Miclat, creator of Modhesh, dies at 69

Family, friends mourn death of influential Filipino artist who made Dubai his home

Veteran Filipino artist Romulo Miclat, the creator of Modhesh, one of Dubai’s most well-loved icons, has died at 69 in the Philippines.

Miclat, who specializes in illustrations, died on Tuesday night following a bout with pneumonia, family and friends confirmed to Gulf News.

The multi-talented Filipino architect, illustrator, painter and cartoonist ran his own agency in Dubai, Qanatar Advertising and Design, which he founded in 1990.

Miclat, a briliant has an unansuming and self-effacing gait who also loved to play the guitar, is respected by his peers for his great artistic talent.

He worked as a illustrator on significant campaigns for regional and local brands.

In a 2007 interview with XPRESS, a Dubai newsweekly and a sister publication of Gulf News, Miclat said Modhesh was the brainchild of a collective design effort, though he said the final input on the character was his.

Modhesh is Dubai’s popular figure symbolising the Dubai Summer Surprises.  

The character began as a jack-in-the-box mascot was launched in 1997. 

In 2001, during a relaunch, Modhesh broke out of the box and became a standalone character, retaining the concertina-style body of his original design – no, it’s not a caterpillar.

The bright yellow colour represents the summer sun, and the seven spikes of hair represent the different emirates.

“I heard that some people have taken a dislike to Modhesh,” he told Gulf News at that time. “But I am very happy that it has become such a huge success.” 

He revealed that his daughter, who is also an illustrator, was teased about the character by some of her colleagues.

Miclat has lived in Dubai since 1982, has been involved in various artistic projects here and in other countries.

Miclat told Dubai-based Filipino magazine Illustrado that he gets fulfillment from seeing how children are so enchanted with his humble creation. 

“Maybe the lives of children change a little every time Modhesh comes around to spread summer fun. If that’s the case, then that is enough for me,” he said that.

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