Obama and other historical figures painted in traditional Arab attire. (SUPPLIED)
Ever seen US President Barak Obama in traditional Arabic attire? Well, head to Gallery Meem in Dubai for a display of portraits that captures not only President Obama, but various other world-famous celebrities wearing the traditional attire.
Others on show include Chinese leader Mao Zedong, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and, George W Bush.
The portraits are photographs 'created' by Emirati artist Mohammed Abdul Latif Kanoo.
Other portraits on show are those of Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Mohamed El-Baradei, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, John Travolta, Will Smith and Angela Jolie and Susan Sarandon.
Kanoo’s exhibition is on till July 5.
Kanoo says that the idea originally began with a tinge of humor, but once he placed head-dress (ghotra and ekal) on the heads of the men, the perspective changed.
“Creating portraits of these historical figures raises the challenges of identity.
“The bottom line is that if tolerance is an important aspect of our faith as Arabs and Muslims, contemporary human difficulties are represented as common problems for all of humanity and that is what brings us together more than what divides us.”
He says, “I aimed at communicating a positive experience with the public.
“A sense of humor is the best way to stimulate the imagination of viewers.”
Is this painting worth a million dirhams?
If you had a million dirhams, you could go on a trip around the world, buy a house, get the car you always wanted, or buy a painting.
The painting, untitled, by Ahmed Al Sudani was auctioned this week in Dubai for about Dh1,100,000-1,800,000, the highest value lot at the Modern and Temporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish art sale organised by Christie’s.
The colorful canvas measuring 210,6 by 183 cm depicts a disfigured face surrounded by shattered forms and is the earliest in a series of works from this artist theming the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
“I was thinking of painting the destruction of a monument to a dictator, and then I started to go through images of hundreds of monuments in Iraq, from the mythic Tower of Babel to the hundreds of newer monuments Saddam built in honor of himself.
“I realised that the construction of these kinds of monuments is the same as the destruction of the person responsible for making them,” says the Iraqi exile in explanation of the painting, which he realised in 2008.
Work of the same artist raised even higher numbers at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Art sale last October in London, where Al Sudani’s Baghdad was sold for Dh40,397.5 million and set a new world action record price.
“With every season passing, we see an increased interest from buyers in the Middle East region in art work,” said Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie's Middle East at the press conference at the beginning of this week.
In 2011 alone, Christie’s earned Dh20,9332.5 billion from global auctions and private sales .
The auction was held on April 17 and 18 in Emirates Towers Hotel.