ABU DHABI // Pascal Salino came to Abu Dhabi to fulfil a promise made 17 years ago., and from today, the work of the French artist, honouring the late Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the UAE, will go on show in the capital. Mr Salino said that while running a perfume shop in Annecy in south-east France he received many clients from the Gulf. In 1993, one high-ranking citizen, whom he chose not to name, asked him to exhibit his collection of gold-laden paintings in the capital one day. Mr Salino agreed, but started work on his images of Sheikh Zayed only in recent years. "I've now fulfilled that promise," he said. "He was a man of peace for all the Arab world," Mr Salino said of Sheikh Zayed. "He was the most impressive man in a new Arab civilisation." The portraits of Sheikh Zayed will be on display at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi until Sunday. Each costs Dh275,000 (US$75,000) and half the proceeds will be donated to a charity of the buyer's choice. Mr Salino has dozens of other paintings on display and available for sale. Similar to the portraits of Sheikh Zayed, they are a collection of mediums that include streaks of gold and Arabic calligraphy. He said he has been working with gold in his paintings for more than 20 years. "Gold is a gift of the ground," he said. "It's handed down from one generation to the next." Each of Sheikh Zayed's portraits represents a different side of the late leader. Mr Salino said the painting entitled White and Night was his favourite. In it, Sheikh Zayed's picture is outlined in gold on a black background. Five white streaks rain from the top of the piece. Mr Salino said he was inspired by Sheikh Zayed's humility. "The white stripes were like the clothes that he wore. He was like a normal person, all the time he wore white. Even though he was like a king. He could wear gold," he said. "He wore white like everybody else." firstname.lastname@example.org
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