Interview: artist Akbar Saheb

Artist paints to bring happiness to others’ faces
By Jamil Khan | DUBAI

SPREADING happiness to others and bringing a smile to someone’s face is the prime focus of Dubai-based Indian artist Akbar Saheb through his wide range of artworks displayed in number of solo and group exhibitions in and out of the UAE.
“I have been painting contemporary paintings with five major techniques – acrylic, oil on canvas, water colour on canvas, acrylic and oil painting mix and cross hatch – to develop my artworks as each and every painting completed with a unique theme,” said Saheb in an exclusive interview at his home in Dubai on Tuesday.akbar-777
Living in Dubai for the last 21 years, Saheb engages his time in various painting projects via prominent personalities from India besides his personal projects regarding different artworks showcased in an upcoming Dubai exhibition.
Prior to moving to Dubai, the self-taught artist was associated with a leading advertisement firm as an illustrator where he served in Mumbai and Bangalore, India. “I was on a visit visa and was offered an attractive job in Dubai which I grabbed immediately. Working in a local advertisement firm was a great experience for two decades as with the time passed, I learned new techniques and computer skills honing my profession and helping me be more beneficial to my firm. I had enough spare time which I devoted into a childhood passion of painting. So far I have painted over 1,000 works of various sizes with different methods,” he said.
He was asked by his peers to use one technique which he never gave a second thought with the aim of spreading happiness. akbar-66
“Everyone has a unique taste and likeness, and my thought was to give everyone a flavor when he or she stands in front my painting. I help them find something they like and then they smile,” he said.
Being a great fan of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, he completed a series of 38 paintings with 120x180cm in size, depicting each year of his rule (1966-2004) with a visual theme. Saheb desired to present these paintings of late ruler himself but had no chance and now waits to see his paintings in any museum dedicated to late ruler by a government department.
“Everyone loved the late Sheikh Zayed and I closely witnessed the transformation of the UAE into a great country. I decided in 1997 to paint a series on him to portray his rule in a visual theme. For my research, I come across many books and used every spare moment of my life till 2004 and during the 8-years period, I didn’t go on vacations. Now I have compiled a book with the details of all the paintings based on these artworks to present to the government to display these in any museum. There are many pictorial books to portray the life of late ruler but this is not only a unique project, no one else has done this kind of work showing the late ruler’s life in paintings,” he said.
Saheb has also done portrait paintings of various local and international leaders. “While I was in India and later in the UAE, I was inspired by the leadership of Narendra Modi who was chief minister of Gujarat from 2001-2014 and had painted a number of paintings and in a meeting in Abu Dhabi in 2015, I was honoured to meet him and present one of my painting as gift,” he said.
Responding to a question, he said he was first in his family with a passion for painting, but now all his three children are in fine arts as his eldest daughter is currently studying fine arts in USA.
According to his experience in holding various solo and group exhibitions, he found great interest from art lovers in India while the melting pot of the UAE also holds a variety of expatriate art connoisseurs.
“My last group show was in Dubai and soon will display my latest paintings as solo exhibitions,” he said.
-Published in The Gulf Today

~ by jamilkhan on April 5, 2017.

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