Two days before completion of his tenure as Commonwealth Secretary-General, a handsome portrait of Kamalesh Sharma was unveiled on 29 March 2016 during a farewell reception at Marlborough House, the London headquarters of the Commonwealth. Paintings of the four previous holders of the post already hang from the walls of Marlborough House, and the new portrait by Alastair Adams continues the line.
The artist, who is based in Oakham, Rutland, has painted many eminent public figures and was selected for this assignment with the assistance of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters of which he is a Past President. He chose to portray the Secretary-General seated by a window in his office at Marlborough House.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony Alastair Adams said: “I am fortunate to have been able to capture Mr Sharma with sunlight streaming through the windows of Marlborough House, even though sittings took place during London’s winter months when days are short and often grey”. The work also depicts artefacts given by Commonwealth Heads of Government and items representing Secretary-General Sharma’s passions for cricket and book collecting.
The painting was paid for by the Government of India and unveiled by His Excellency Navtej Sarna, High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, in the presence of diplomats from most of the Commonwealth’s 53 member states, representatives from a wide range of Commonwealth organisations and many other distinguished guests.