About this painting:
Fauja Singh by Veramaria
back to portraits
Oil on Canvas
200 x 100 cm
London, Jan 27th, 2014
OUR FIRST MEETING:
I first read about Fauja Singh in German publications when he was featured in Adidas advertising and covered in news articles when he carried the Olympic torch before the London Olympics.
During summer 2012, I had the opportunity to personally meet Fauja and interview him at a charitiy event at a London school.
When I met him I was surprised to see this 101 year old gentleman dressed in a fine Italian suit with the latest style dress shoes to match.
All his images in media showed him in running gear so I was surprised to meet a fashionable gentleman.
Besides his modern attire, he had a warm smile and exuded such positive energy.
I was immediately impressed and inspired.
Even though he was the chief guest of the charity event and sought after by many, he granted me an hour long video interview.
During the entire interview he was standing straight and declined repeated offers to be seated.
He answered all questions in a straight forward and positive manner.
For me, this was so inspiring and motivating that I started running faster and more regularly and as far as possible try and stand instead of sitting.
I painted him in an Armani suit.
Fauja is so cool!
Here is our little interview with English subtitles. (coming soon).
To capture his multifaceted personality was a challenge for me. After many starts, I decided to do a full portrait. At first, I wanted to depict him running through the green fields of his native Punjab or in the streets of London.
But after our meeting I changed my mind.
In the centre is a very relaxed and smiling elderly gentleman full of positive spirit, such a one you could meet at a game of boules on the Cote D Azur or surfing on a beach in California.
This is the character I wanted to capture.
On either side are marathon runners, running to the right and left of the picture, as though they are running out of the person between them.
Their facial expressions show determination, passion, endurance & courage. His running appears to be his form of meditation.
The orange turban I chose to have a strong contrast to the blue background. Orange and blue are also the main colours of the Sikhs.
As Fauja is always colour coordinated in his dress style I also matched the yellow Adidas stripes to the yellow turban. Again a nice contrast to the blue background.
Whereas his running images on the left and right are shown in an abstract manner/ here I did very fast and lose brush strokes.