Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 17:27 UK

Dancer Khan is captured on canvas

The rasa are expressed by Khan on nine painted panels

A portrait of dancer Akram Khan has been unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Khan - one of the UK's leading contemporary dancers and choreographers - was captured on canvas for the third Jerwood Portrait Commission.

Painted by artist Darvish Fakhr, it depicts Khan performing each of the nine "rasa", or emotions.

Expressed through movement, the rasa are central to Khan's performances of traditional Asian dance form Khatak.

American-Iranian artist Fakhr said: "Akram gets zero down time, so when he first sat for me he was asleep within minutes.

Physicality

"I had to keep him moving and approach the portrait from a different angle. By studying his movements on film I was able to better understand his paths of motion as an expression of form.

"Each panel needed to be completed in one session to better convey his physicality through that of my own.

"The greatest gift to come out of this project for me has been my growing friendship with Akram and although the portrait is complete we continue to work together on exciting new ideas."

Partnerships

London-born Khan was introduced to Bengali folk dancing as a child and studied Kathak. As a teenager, he was a member of the cast of Peter Brook's celebrated production of the Mahabharata.

Throughout his career, Khan has sought out unexpected partnerships with other artists, including actress Juliette Binoche, sculptor Anthony Gormley, composer Nitin Sawhney and ballerina Sylvie Guillem.

He was winner of the Jerwood Choreography Award in 2000.

Khan said it was an "incredible honour" to be recognised by the National Portrait Gallery.

"I very much enjoyed the journey Darvish Fakhr and I took leading to this work: it is one of exchange and friendship."


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