I painted this portrait of Mullah Omar a few months ago, probably around the 9/11 anniversary hooplah. One doesn't hear much about this guy anymore, even though it's possible that he's leading quite an active life. Since he has barely ever been photographed, he's not the sort of person that absolutely everyone would recognize, like UbL, but it still seems likely that he would cut quite a figure wherever he is and whatever he is doing (unless he's dead). Not allowing one's self to be photographed can have all sorts of interesting possibilities for changing one's occupation and lifestyle. A few years ago, an Afghan taxi driver told me that in fact Mullah Omar is still active in the Afghan government, under the pseudonym of Hamid Karzai. Aside from the fact that Hamid Karzai has allowed himself to be photographed throughout his life, and is much older than Mullah Omar, the theory is intriguing. There are a few pictures claiming to represent Mullah Omar floating around the internet though, most of which don't look like they were taken of the same person. The picture I chose as a basis for this portrait made him look one-eyed, so it seemed the most likely to be authentic, though it doesn't make him look much like Hamid Karzai.
I don't understand why though? Why paint pictures of UBL, Ataturk and Mullah Omar; surely there are many worthier subjects?
Well...I guess it depends on what you think makes a subject worthy. I'm assuming you mean someone or something that is thought of as aesthetically appealing or admirable in some way. Like maybe Nelson Mandela or a field of tulips in the Netherlands. For me, a worthy subject is one that makes me curious or intrigued. I learn more about the subject as I paint, and perhaps convey a particular vision to others, if all goes well. But if it doesn't, that's okay too. Clearly I'm not doing this to pay the rent, or I would be choosing more marketable subjects and styles. In solidarity, lapata
Sorry, I didn't mean to put on the spot; nor was I judging the aesthetic merit of your subject...It was more out of curiosity about your curiosity.