Shamal Ozone, a trilogy continuing The Chronicles of Shamal, was launched yesterday at Comic Con Bahrain 2023.
Created by artist and illustrator Anna Thackray, Shamal Ozone has been in the making since 2016 after the first trilogy, The Chronicles of Shamal, was published. Shamal Ozone is a whirlwind continuation of the story, taking the readers on a journey from Bahrain to the UAE and much further.
Combining Bahrain’s old folklore and fables with a warning of climate change and the inherent threat it imposes on all life, Shamal and his trusty companions, a falcon and a stallion, awakened from their graves by the Tree of Life, come to rescue when the situation becomes dire, along with other characters from the first trilogy. A tumultuous adventure ensues, taking the readers on a thrilling journey from the past to present and the future.
A fine artist by profession, Anna has undertaken all aspects of creation including storyline, illustration, colouring and production.
Commenting on the launch Anna said: “Similar to the first trilogy, Shamal Ozone has been a labour of love. I continued to draw inspiration from the Kingdom of Bahrain, the people, the scenery, the weather and the old fables told by many Bahraini friends. The story lingers in me and the adventures of Shamal and his comrades will continue. This instalment of the series sees Shamal travelling to the UAE, fighting evil as he goes along. However, Shamal was born in Bahrain, the island is his home and he will always return.”
“The first trilogy was initially published in English only but I am delighted to share that now both The Chronicles of Shamal and Shamal Ozone are published in Arabic too. Depicting familiar scenes from Bahrain, and also from the UAE in Ozone, the target audience for The Chronicles of Shamal is diverse, crossing cultural, age and language boundaries, however, as many aspects of the story are inspired and influenced by local stories, I wanted Arabic versions as well,” continued Anna.
Currently residing in Abu Dhabi, Anna – like Shamal – keeps returning to Bahrain which she feels is her Middle Eastern home. Whilst resident in Bahrain from 2008 to 2017 Anna was commissioned for various high-profile art projects creating uniquely styled oil paintings and also illustrated a guidebook about Bahrain – Streetsmart Bahrain.
Most recently, apart from continuing Shamal’s story, Anna has been involved with making sustainable art and giving classes to children and interested adults on how to utilise things that would otherwise be deemed rubbish into art pieces. Her informative master class was held at Saadiyat Beach Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE where she created a life-size Hawksbill Turtle out of 30 discarded water bottles and building rubble. One of the themes that is constant through all her work is the message of conserving our environment.