Dubai: On the occasion of the 70th birthday of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on July 15, 2019, Indian teen Aman Singh Gulati had made a unique portrait on an almond.
A year later, the 19-year-old, now famous as the world’s first almond artist, has made another almond portrait, this time of Shaikh Mohammad shaking hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the flags of both the countries in the background.
This year’s birthday gift for Sheikh Mohammed is a tribute on behalf of all Indian expats, Gulati, who has never been to the UAE, told Gulf News over phone from his hometown in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
“I am very thankful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for doing a lot of great work for the Indian community in the UAE,” said the young artist who has set many world records and won accolades for his creative work, especially the less-than-one-inch almond portraits of celebrities.
“This is a unique gift from our side. In this portrait, I have showcased the warm relationship between India and the UAE also. For that, I chose the photo of our prime minister [Modi] shaking hands with Sheikh Mohammed during his visit to the UAE.”
He said he had started searching online for an apt photo for the portrait since last week and finally chose this photo, which he saw on gulfnews.com
“I took about 20 hours to create this portrait because it is a hyper realistic portrait on an almond. It is my wish to get a chance to exhibit this in any museum in the UAE. I wish to get a chance to send it to the Prime Minister’s Office. Last night, I sent a mail to Shaikh Mohammad’s official email address. I hope I will get a positive reply as it is a unique gift from all Indian expats.”
As Gulf News reported last year, when the first-ever almond portrait of Sheikh Mohammed was made, Gulati had started admiring Sheikh Mohammed after hearing about how he supported the Sikh community in the UAE, during an award function in Kenya in 2018.
Autobiography on almond
After reading the autobiography of Sheikh Mohammed, which was gifted to him by the organisers of the award function, Gulati became a big fan of the leader.
“I am also thankful to him for granting land to our Sikh community to build a Gurudwara in Dubai. In the future, I am planning to create an artistic autobiography of Sheikh Mohammed on almonds. I will choose rare pictures, starting from his childhood.”
He said he planned to include special moments in India-UAE relations also in the future project.
Gulati uses horse hair as brush as it is very thin and strong for painting on almonds. “I mix kerosene oil with acrylic or fabric paint to ward off insects from damaging the almonds,” he explained.
He said the almond portraits are expected to last for more than 50 years. “I preserve them in wooden boxes and present them to dignitaries.”
Last year’s almond portrait of Sheikh Mohammed is currently in his apartment in Delhi.
“It is still intact. I had showcased that portrait in an exhibition in Chandigarh in February this year,” said Gulati, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts.