WASHINGTON: Former US president George W. Bush is hoping world leaders will warm to the portraits he’s painted of them, which go on exhibition in Texas this weekend.
The two dozen canvases are a key part of “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” which explores the relationships Bush forged with world leaders during his presidency.
“I think their reaction is going to be, ‘Whoa, George Bush is a painter’,” quipped Bush in an interview with his journalist daughter Jenna Bush Hager to air on NBC television’s “Today” program Friday.
He added: “I hope they take it in the spirit in which these were painted, and that was a spirit of friendship, and that I admired them as leaders and was willing to give it a shot in terms of getting people to see how I felt about them.”
None of the portraits have been seen publicly before — or, for that matter, by the yet-to-be-identified subjects themselves.
“I’m sure when they heard that I was painting them… they’re going to say, ‘Whoa, I look forward to seeing a stick figure he painted of me’,” said Bush, 67, who took up painting after leaving the White House in January 2009.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said the exhibition would run through June 3.
“Today” aired a snippet of the interview during its broadcast Thursday and posted it on its www.today.com website. AFP