Comment News (Gosnells) - - Lifestyle -

WHEN Fed­erico Me­d­ina de­cided to paint a por­trait of a seven year-old boy with Down syn­drome, his goal was sim­ple.

The Langford artist was search­ing the news­pa­per for in­spi­ra­tion when he chanced upon an ar­ti­cle about Western Aus­tralian of the Year fi­nal­ist Ca­tia Malaquias and her son Julius Panetta.

Panetta is the face of Start­ing with Julius, an or­gan­i­sa­tion which pro­motes di­ver­sity and full in­clu­sion of peo­ple with dis­abil­ity, and Me­d­ina was drawn to the cause.

Me­d­ina said he wanted the paint­ing, which he will sub­mit for the Black Swan por­trait prize, to cap­ture Julius’ zest for life and chal­lenge the au­di­ence to treat peo­ple with Down syn­drome as equals.

“With Julius’ por­trait, I wanted to cel­e­brate the di­ver­sity of the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence and con­trib­ute to break­ing down the cul­tural prej­u­dices and stigma peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

“Nor­mally when you are go­ing to do a por­trait it’s some­one who is a per­son­al­ity, but in this in­stance it was ex­actly what I was look­ing for, to re­flect some­one who is liv­ing with his con­di­tion with­out any frus­tra­tion. He has a vi­brant per­son­al­ity and he’s very friendly, very bright. When I went back with the first sketches, he went ‘that’s me’.”

Me­d­ina said he was hon­oured to have worked on the paint­ing and aided Julius’ cause.

“To rep­re­sent what the mum is look­ing for, the idea of hav­ing dis­abled peo­ple viewed in a dif­fer­ent way, her mis­sion is ab­so­lutely great to me. We have to have a bet­ter so­ci­ety in which we can live in har­mony and more con­scious of who we are and what we’re here for,” he said.

“Bet­ter than win­ning (the Black Swan Por­trait Award), is be­ing able to con­trib­ute to a cause like this.”

Dis­cus­sions and feed­back from Julius about his hob­bies and in­ter­ests helped shape the por­trait.

“I talked to him about his favourite colours, his favourite toys, what his favourite sport was and all of those things are part of my paint­ing,” Me­d­ina said.

“He told me about the rain­bow, not just with the colours sep­a­rate but blended, which is why I blended the colours (in the por­trait).”

Picture: Matt Jelonek www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d471641

Fed­erico Me­d­ina with his por­trait of Julius Panetta.

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