x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Artist driven to paint his impressions of the UAE

Art met racing last night at a new exhibition that brought the two worlds together.

Artist Tachi Pintor  holds his first regional exhibition with a live painting of Emirati race driver, Khaled Al Qubaisi at Avenue at Etihad Towers  in Abu Dhabi.  Sarah Dea / The National
Artist Tachi Pintor holds his first regional exhibition with a live painting of Emirati race driver, Khaled Al Qubaisi at Avenue at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi. Sarah Dea / The National

ABU DHABI // Art met motor racing last night at a new exhibition that brought the two worlds together.

The works on show, unveiled at Avenue at Etihad Towers, included a portrait of Sheikh Zayed. The Spanish artist, Tachi Pintor, who has studied the life of the founder of the nation, has been working on the portrait for several weeks. This is his first exhibition in the UAE.

“This man has such an incredible life story and an incredible heart,” said the Spaniard. “It’s not enough to just see a face and paint, I need to know the person and their story too.”

This week he will paint another portrait, that of the Emirati racing driver, Khaled Al Qubaisi. The sportsman was due to be at the exhibition’s launch last night, as Pintor’s model, but was unable to make it due to a bereavement. But the painting will still go ahead, said the artist.

“I am excited to meet him,” said Pintor. “I love F1 but even more now I am doing this exhibition. I like to connect with my subjects too, which is important for my art, so I look forward to meeting him in person. He is so famous here so I am excited.”

The artist has also been studying the country’s local culture, the likes of which will be incorporated into the four live paintings he will create this week. The works will be of a falcon, horse, the Emirati racing driver and the South African statesman, Nelson Mandela.

“Spanish and Arab cultures are very close, we are of the same blood,” he said. “I studied much of the local culture before coming here and it feels very close to me.”

It was an art enthusiast, Elaine Bell, who brought the painter to Abu Dhabi, thinking F1 would be the perfect time to inspire his creativity.

The Dubai-based collector came across Pintor – whose real is Ignacio Lloret Lledo – while on holiday in Spain and bought one of his pieces. “I thought his work needed to be shown around the world,” she said. “I wanted to bring him here and through friends we managed to secure him the space at Etihad Towers. I thought F1 would be a good theme and I knew there would be more people here for the race this week so felt it was a good time to reach a wider audience.”

Ms Bell encouraged the artist to paint Sheikh Zayed.

“I know the people here and how they feel about Sheikh Zayed. Knowing their love for him I thought it would be a good way for him [Pintor] to use his skills painting portraits as well as connecting with the things which are important to people here; as well as the elements of the local culture such as falconry and equestrianism.”

Guests at The Avenue and the hotel eagerly watched the artist last night as he created the black and white outlines of the four paintings.

Each work of art will be completed during the Spaniard’s stay, which ends on November 6.

Farah Mohammed, who came to visit one of the outlets, said: “This is fantastic to see live. I am not a creative person myself so seeing talent like this right in front of you is amazing. He is so fast and you can see his passion with every stroke.”

Other portraits on display include the likes of 2013 F1 champion Sebastien Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, as well as celebrities Elton John and Sean Connery.

The exhibition is free of charge and Pintor will be painting live every evening at Avenue at Etihad Towers, between 7-8pm.

mswan@thenational.ae