Silicon Valley Artist's Work Headed to White House

Portrait offered as gift to Obama

At first glance, the portrait Fariba Nejat painted of President Barack Obama looks like a photograph with painted highlights.

But, look again, and you'll notice the portrait is, indeed, a painting.

Now that painting is White House-bound.

Like so many people around the globe, Nejat was inspired by Obama. So, the founder and president of the Iranian Federal Women's Club in Cupertino put her artistic skills to work.

"When President Obama became elected, it was such a poignant moment for us as immigrants that everyone wanted to do something," Nejat told the Cupertino Courier. "It was past time to offer financial aid for the campaign, and the best choice was to offer what was in our hearts through art."

The painting also includes a poem by Saadi of Shiraz, Iran. Written between 1184 and 1291, the message of the poem is "to value humanity, regard for compassion and acceptance of diversity," Nejat said. The poem is written in Farsi and English.

"All Iranians are familiar this poem. Our grandfathers would recite it to us," Nejat said, adding that the painting symbolizes the faith the club places in Obama.

Rather than making money off the likeness, the club offered the portrait as a congratulatory gift on behalf of residents of the city.

Reps from the White House picked up the painting from U.S. Rep. Mike Honda's Washington, D.C., office this week.

It took Nejat about 70 hours to complete her brush with greatness. Other contributors spent two weeks helping to complete the gift by creating a DVD of the process, adding original music and written commentary to the project.

"The essence of this painting is teamwork," Najat said.

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