Sam Martinez to be immortalised in portrait exhibition

The portrait was taken by Arpita Shah.
The portrait was taken by Arpita Shah.
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IT is a family portrait like no other and at the centre is 106-year-old Sam Martinez.

Sam, from Wester Hailes, was well known as the country’s oldest Hibs fan but first and foremost he was a family man who liked nothing better than to be surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

As he is laid to rest at a funeral at Warriston Crematorium on Monday, it has emerged that he will be immortalised in a nationwide digital portrait exhibition.

The family photo forms part of a series of images called 
Portraits of Britain, which 
are being displayed around the UK.

He celebrated his 106th birthday in February surrounded by his friends and family, and his daughter, Jackie Simpson, said her dad “would have been so proud to have been part of this new exhibition.”

She said: “People were drawn to his smile and happy nature.

“He was most happy when surrounded by his family, so much so that he had photographs of us all on his walls so he could feel like we were always with him.”

The picture for the exhibition was taken by Edinburgh-based photographer Arpita Shah, who was born in India.

She said: “I moved to Scotland when I was 18 to study photography at Napier University.

“My work looks at identity and belonging and explores a lot of my own experience 
floating between two cultures. With Sam’s family, I wanted to take a traditional portrait-style photo.

“The picture is called Portrait of Home and is a homage to traditional family portraiture.”

Portrait of Britain is a public art exhibition on an unprecented scale.

The UK-wide event puts the nation’s citizens centre stage and the photographs will begin to appear in public places this month. The exhibition has been organised by the British Journal of Photography.

A total of 100 portraits have been selected, including three Scottish contributions from Arpita, Anneleen Lindsay and Wojtek Kutyla.

A spokesman for the exhibition said: “It was envisaged as an exhibition by the people, of the people, for the people.

“It was initiated as an open call for photographs that celebrates the country’s unique heritage and diversity.

“Selected from nearly 4000 entries, the winning 100 portraits capture young and old, reflecting not just the multiformity of British people but also the myraid of styles and approaches to contemporary photographic portraiture.”