A Swansea Bay surgeon will swap the operating room for the TV screen later this month when he appears on Channel 5’s WaterCall Challenge.
Mr Shehzad Latif will prove he is as adept at using a paintbrush as he is a scalpel when he takes on three other amateur artists tasked with capturing four different Welsh landscapes.
The popular daytime TV programme, presented by Fern Britton, will see artists given four hours to paint the same scene or landscape in watercolour, often with very different interpretations, before moving on to another location. .
Mr. Latif is also a talented poet having won praise from the judges of the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine for his poem Singleton Hospital at Night and a poem about spina bifida, inspired by his son with the disease.
He said: “I do watercolors and pastels, mainly landscapes, Rhossili being my favorite place to paint.
“It really is one of the most beautiful places. The other place I really like is the Lougher estuary, it has beautiful skies.
The show is due to air on January 31. Mr Latif said he got involved after receiving an email from a friend at the Arts Society of South Wales asking for volunteers to apply for the scheme.
He decided to apply and sent some of his paintings to the program creators.
“One of the producers got in touch via Zoom and said she really liked my work, but that would be up to the judges to decide.
“Six weeks later I received an email saying, congratulations, you have been chosen as one of four nominees.
“The first two sessions took place at Crickhowell, on the Glanusk estate. It was a beautiful location overlooking Pen y Fan. Then we moved on to St Donats near Llantwit Major before finishing in the Rhondda Heritage Park.
“As is typical in Wales, we had the full four season range in two hours.
“The first day was nice and warm, with beautiful sunshine, then an hour into the competition I saw the clouds approaching, then we had wind, hail and rain.
“It was fun running from place to place, trying to save our jobs.”
Mr Latif, who is based at Morriston Hospital and specializes in abdominal wall reconstruction, said he really enjoyed the experience.
” I learned a lot. From the runners to the cameramen, and from Fern to the judges, the entire production team was outstanding.
“It was an interesting format, we were just told to paint and the judges came towards the end and selected the winner of this program. I believe viewers will be asked to select the overall winner of the series.
But even if he wins the competition, there is no danger that he will give up his day job.
“I love my job too much to devote myself to painting full time.”
Mr Latif, a member of the Swansea Arts Society who has previously exhibited his work at Singleton Hospital, is selling some of his work to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
He said: “As a member of the British Obesity Metabolic Society of Surgeons, for whom I am also Poet-in-Residence, I always show up armed with my poems and paintings. The members are really looking forward to it.
“And some of my paintings are going to be sold on the Obesity UK Society website to raise money for the charity.”
(All images: Swansea Bay NHS)