72-year-old Sayed Azmathullah, a Hyderabad-based artist who makes crystal paintings of well-known personalities, was cheated by a man who took his paintings on the pretext of exhibiting them but instead showcased them as his own. The alleged fraudster cheated Sayed of 11 paintings in total and has not paid him for six of his crystal portraits, the artist says.
Back in 2017, Sayed was allegedly approached by Abdul Salam Al-Qadi, a Hyderabadi claiming to be a Qatari national. Between October 2017 and April 2018, Abdul allegedly procured 11 paintings from Sayed, of which he paid for five.
"Abdul came home after seeing news reports about me in 2017 and was very well-dressed and articulate, so I trusted him. He claimed to be a Qatari national and took some of my paintings with him over a few months. Some 11 paintings in total. I don't want the money but it is wrong to claim those paintings as his own," says Sayed, a former IBM systems engineer who started as a computer artist creating art digital work in the early 1970s and later on moved to ceramic tile and crystal paintings.
The artist said he initially thought Abdul was planning to exhibit the paintings, but he realised recently that Abdul was claiming that the paintings were his own, he alleged. Sayed said government officials in the United Kingdom informed him that various Gulf-based media reports mentioned Abdul as the artist of two paintings: the Dome of the Rock in the Old City of Jerusalem and another of Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan.
(Abdul duping Erdogan, gifting him crystal paitings done by Hyderabad based Sayed.)
"I was invited to the UK Parliament to showcase my work and they were the ones who informed me that someone else does similar artwork. That's when I got to know that Abdul has passed off some of my work as his own " said Sayed, who uses Swarovski crystals imported from Austria for his paintings, which take over a week to create.
Two of the paintings, composed of crystals, were even allegedly gifted to President Erdogan by Abdul as a gift from Qatar to Turkey. After learning about Abdul's alleged duplicity, Sayed approached the Hussaini Alam police station in Hyderabad earlier this month with a complaint against Abdul."Even my signature was replaced with his name," said the artist.
In the past, Sayed has created crystal paintings of former Indian president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, TRS Party Working President KT Rama Rao, CEOs of Apple and Google, and many other famous personalities. He often shows his work to them.
TNM reached out to the accused Abdul, who is in Qatar, was defensive and threatened legal action against the reporter for quizzing him about the ownership of the crystal paintings. "I don't care about the case filed against me in Hyderabad, you can speak to my lawyer," Abdul said. He refused to speak any further.
Hussaini Alam Police Inspector Ramesh Kotwal, said, "Abdul is not a Qatari national, he is an Indian from Hyderabad. He is not present in the country." Sayed noted that there was been little progress in the case since he filed his complaint on August 8.
Sayed says he even wrote to the Turkish consulate in Hyderabad, which alerted the Qatar embassy in Turkey of Abdul's duplicity, he claims. However, there has been no response from the Embassy of Qatar, the artist says.