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Dubai-based artist views Modi through portraits

Dubai-based artist views Modi through portraits
The self-taught Akbar Saheb, 50, who originally hails from Udupi in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka, makes a living as an illustrator for a Dubai ad agency.

Dubai - Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.



by

Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Published: Thu 13 Aug 2015, 6:23 PM

Last updated: Fri 14 Aug 2015, 3:54 AM

A Dubai-based Indian artist has created a series of 12 portraits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reflecting on his achievements and the promises he's made to India's over 1.2 billion citizens.
The self-taught Akbar Saheb, 50, who originally hails from Udupi in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka, makes a living as an illustrator for a Dubai ad agency. His passion, however, is painting, and over the years he says he has created some 700 works of art.
In an interview with Khaleej Times, Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - one for each year of Modi's tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat - were inspired by his accomplishments and by the vows he made during his electoral campaign.
"I've lived in Dubai for 22 years, and when I go to India I usually stay only two or three days. I'm not so much involved in politics," he said. "But for three months before Narendra Modi was elected as Prime Minister, he was canvassing India, saying what he was and what he wanted to do if he was elected as Prime Minister. He was making promises to people and telling them what kind of contribution he would have for India, as well as the challenges. He inspired me a lot and that is why I have done the paintings."
Among the paintings - which Saheb insists are completely apolitical - are depictions of Modi alongside the currently under construction "Statue of Unity" in Gujarat, and another of Modi holding dice with other nation's flags on them, symbolizing his foreign policy goals.
"These things are what Modi wants to do for the country in the future. I've (depicted) them through my imagination in the paintings," Saheb explained.
Like many members of the Indian community, Saheb said he was looking forward to Modi's upcoming visit to the UAE on August 16 and 17.  
"Each and every Indian is very excited," he said. "Definitely I will go see him with my family. I have three kids and I'll take all of them. He's a very dynamic person and he will definitely have hope that he can change the country."
Looking towards Modi's visit, Saheb he has a special painting waiting, which he hopes to be able to present to the Prime Minister himself.  Through the painting, entitled "Mother's Blessing", Saheb said he hopes to convey the deep respect and connection that Modi has with his mother.
"In the painting, Modi is speaking in front of the public. In the public, his old mother is there," he said. "Because he is the Prime Minister, he cannot go and meet his mother, because he is taking care of the country, and she cannot meet him because she wants to stay in the same place. His mother is a normal person like us, seeing the Prime Minister on TV."
In the future, Saheb said he will continue to create art inspired by Modi, whether he lives up to his promises or not.
"If he's not going to finish what he promised to the people, then also I will do a painting," he said. "I have to do the true story of what he's done and what he hasn't done."
bernd@khaleejtimes.com

Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.
Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.
Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.
Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.
Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.
Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.
Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.
Saheb said his series of 4.5 feet by 6 feet Modi portraits - were inspired by his accomplishments.

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