PICTURES: Largest sand portrait of Sheikh Zayed

Father of the UAE immortalised in huge 10m x 10m sand painting made from a hot air balloon in the dessert

An artist claims to have created the largest ever portrait of the late Skeikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan out of sand.

The painting of the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi (1971-2004), widely referred to as the ‘father of the nation’, was created in the dessert outside Dubai on May 12th, by Canadian University of Dubai lecturer Sylvain Tremblay.

Tremblay, who specialises in creating artworks that celebrate culture and traditions around the world, dropped sand collected from the desert onto a 10m by 10m canvass from a hot air balloon 15 metres in the air to create a high contrast image.

Tremblay claims to have created this unusual painting method himself, a style he developed and honed at Canadian University of Dubai. Using the University’s roof as a preparation space, he has practiced many times on smaller canvases to ensure everything goes to plan.

‘This is the most inspiring thing I have done and definitely the most technically difficult,’ he said. ‘It’s a great honour for me to be able to produce the biggest painted portrait of the great Sheikh Zayed'.

‘It was important to me when planning the performance that everything was natural and that it paid tribute to the UAE’s natural elements. The desert was the natural place to do this and using sand from the desert made the perfect choice.’

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