Tribute to Obama from a Gujarat artist

By V.N. Balakrishna, IANS

Ahmedabad, Nov 15, 2008| A Gujarat artist who has made a painting of US president-elect Barack Obama, showing the politician being blessed by Mahatma Gandhi on his poll victory, is struggling to ensure that the picture reaches the leader.

Aejaz Saiyed uses crayons and oil pastels to make paintings with Gandhian themes. His portrait of Obama with Gandhi has already been published by the Associated Press but is yet to reach the US leader.

‘I want to send the original portrait to Obama either through the Prime Minister’s Office – or through the president. I have contacted the PMO and am also going to contact the president’s office,’ he said.

The 49-year-old works with the central government’s Directorate of Census Operations.

‘As a government servant, sending Obama’s painting through the president’s office would be better for me. Otherwise, as a last resort, I will courier the portrait to Barack Obama,’ he added.

In 2005, Saiyed had sent a portrait of President George W. Bush to him through the PMO.

He has also drawn a portrait of Sourav Ganguly in appreciation of his valuable contribution to Indian cricket during the last 13 years.

‘He had struggled and made a significant contribution to Indian cricket. He deserves our salute,’ Saiyed said.

Saiyed was invited by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2004 in honour of his artistic work.

He never sells his paintings because, he says, ‘painting is my mission and not commerce’.

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