March 9 2014 Latest news:
Mark Shales, Reporter
Friday, December 20, 2013
An 80-year-old artist from Forest Gate has painted over 1,000 pictures for his own enjoyment, but now wants to share his gift with the community.
Retired engineer Dulal Sharma, of Monega Road, first picked up his brush in 2006 after being encouraged to do so by his wife, Mati, and has never looked back.
Although only starting for the benefit of his family and himself, Mr Sharma now hopes his collection might inspire others.
“I would love people to see my artwork and know this is what can be achieved at my age,” he said.
“When you retire you can just escape into the paintings, it’s so relaxing. Sometimes I can get hooked on a picture for hours at a time.
“People say you have to be specialised, either pick portraits or landscapes but I like a bit of everything. Buildings, roads, rivers, planes or people – if I like it I’ll paint it.”
A well-travelled man, Mr Sharma left his native Calcutta, India, at the age of 21 to train as an engineer in Africa.
After spending seven years in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, he moved to Tanzania, before settling in England in 1971.
“It was an opportunity I had to seize,” he explained. “My friend just asked me one day, do you fancy going to Africa? So I said, yeah why not?”
Although his collection is vast, much of the work is stored in folders in his dining room, waiting for the chance to be exhibited publicly.
A father to four, grandfather to seven and great-grandfather to one, his daughter Maloti Malhi insists the family are extremely proud of their talented patriarch.
“We’re all really, really proud of him,” she said. “His art is something we can all really enjoy as well.
“For my brother’s first wedding anniversary, he painted an exact replica of the wedding photo and it was beautiful.
“He’s also painted pictures for the children’s 16th and 21st birthdays which are amazing personal things, and presents they’ll all treasure forever.”
For more information or if anyone is interested in exhibiting Mr Sharma’s work, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8477 3824.