Sheffy Tattarath, an Indian painter in Oman, has been obsessed with painting portraits of royals in the sultanate. Having done numerous portraits of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said as well as of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik over the years, he admits that every single painting has been a fulfilling experience
He could pass off as the guy next door or as anyone journeying through an anxious middle age, but Sheffy Tattarath is no ordinary guy… In his sway is a unique ability to create true-to-life portraits of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, which he does frequently, without being commissioned to do so.
This week, Sheffy has just completed a huge portrait of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik seated on a chair with a nostalgic portrait of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said in the backdrop signifying a unique synergy between the two royals in taking Oman to great heights. This new painting is one of his latest works that has been completed just in time to coincide with the 4th Accession Day of His Majesty, the Sultan, and his ‘Renewed Renaissance’.
Sheffy admits that he has been working on this painting all through the past year and cannot quite quantify the hours of effort put into it. “I have been working on this painting, off and on, not at a stretch for many days. That is my style and I enjoy the process of making every portrait, adding my own creative effects, to make each work look unique and attractive in its own way,” he asserts.
Having done scores of portraits of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said over the past few decades in Oman, Sheffy admits that the late HM’s demise (in January 2020) was the saddest part of his life and it threw him totally out of gear. Besides facing certain health issues, he also had to shelve his talent for some time, to come to terms with reality. However, switching to painting portraits of His Majesty Sultan Haitham, he was able to find new expression for his talent, often binding emotions of the past and present together.
Sheffy, who took to realism at the age of 17, has been a mentor to many young artists in Oman over the years who now are established artists in their own rights. Apart from participating in many joint exhibitions in Oman with his unique portraits and landscapes, he has also created portraits for many personalities in Oman – those in good stead as well as friends and folks.
To create this current painting, Sheffy says he has checked out several photographs of both HMs to understand the detailing, stance, glance, as well as emotional composure of both royal personalities. He worked on it in several stages, changing shades, combining elements that complement each other as well bringing in a chiaroscuro effect (effect of lighting and shadows) to give the final result a three-dimensional feel.
Sheffy has been privileged to paint around 30-odd portraits of both Sultans during the past two decades, most of which have been commissioned works. Many of his portraits have also been sold at exhibitions while a few have been presented to people by the artist. One can see a huge portrait of both HMs together, created by Sheffy, installed on one wall at The Walk, in Al Mouj Muscat, as well as one in the lobby of hotel Kempinski Muscat.
Having come to Oman in the mid-90s, Sheffy, who had an innate talent for sketching and painting from early childhood, attributes his prowess with the brush to Betty Edwards (New York Times’ best selling author) whose book – Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – which is used as a standard text in many art schools around the world, equipped him with apt knowledge, tools and instruction needed to shape his career as an artist on sound lines.