US & Canada

George W Bush exhibits his paintings of world leaders

Painting of Russian President Vladimir Putin by George W Bush Image copyright George W Bush Center
Image caption The former president said he had come to know Russian President Vladimir Putin "very well"

An exhibit featuring paintings of world leaders by former US President George W Bush is to open at his library in Texas.

In an interview with his daughter for NBC News, Mr Bush said he took up painting after leaving the White House because he was a "driven person".

One of the works featured is a stern-faced portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Bush said he had come to know Mr Putin "very well".

While the former US president did not directly address Russia's annexation of Crimea, he said: "Vladimir is a person who in many ways viewed America as an enemy.

"I tried, of course, to dispel him of that notion."

Twenty-four portraits of world leaders Mr Bush met while in office are featured in the exhibit. The former US president told NBC he was reluctant to make them public "because I'm not a great artist".

He also told the US broadcaster he was inspired in part by a Winston Churchill essay, Painting as a Pastime, and said art had opened up a "whole new world".

The exhibition opens to the public - admission is $16 (£9.60) - on Saturday at the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.

Image copyright George W Bush Center
Image caption Mr Bush worked closely with President Hamid Karzai during the Afghan war

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