Afghan child holds art show to help can­cer vic­tim

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

BEL­GRADE — An Afghan boy dubbed “lit­tle Pi­casso” ex­hib­ited his paint­ings and pho­to­graphs in Bel­grade on Wed­nes­day, hop­ing to raise money for a Ser­bian child’s post-can­cer ther­apy.

Farhad Noory, 10, has lived in a refugee camp in the city with his par­ents and two younger broth­ers for eight months, dur­ing which time his paint­ings of fa­mous peo­ple have made him a lo­cal me­dia star.

His range of portraits in­clude Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, sur­re­al­ist painter Sal­vador Dali and footballer Cris­tiano Ron­aldo.

Noory’s fam­ily is part of the re­cent wave of mi­grants from South Asia, the Mid­dle East and Africa who hoped to start new lives in Europe but got stuck in Ser­bia af­ter a route was closed in 2016.

The boy’s gift for art was spot­ted dur­ing lan­guage and paint­ing work­shops in Bel­grade that were or­ga­nized by lo­cal aid groups for refugees and mi­grants.

“We quickly re­al­ized how tal­ented he was and sent him to a paint­ing school as well as a three-month pho­tog­ra­phy work­shop. So this is a ret­ro­spec­tive of what he learned there,” says Edin Si­nanovic of the Refugees Foun­da­tion, a lo­cal NGO.

In ad­di­tion to hold­ing his first ex­hi­bi­tion, “Farhad wanted to help some­one. So he chose to ded­i­cate it to a 6-year-old Ser­bian boy who needs funds for his ther­apy af­ter brain can­cer,” Si­nanovic says.

Dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans, Noory, who speaks a lit­tle English, says he was “feel­ing stressed” at his first ex­hi­bi­tion.

The smil­ing young artist says he wanted to help a child in dif­fi­culty be­cause “we need to be kind”, and he hopes to meet the boy for whom he was fundrais­ing.

In aid of the boy’s ther­apy, Noory sold his pho­to­graphs of ev­ery­day life in the city and prints of his paint­ings for 250 to 800 di­nars ($2.5-8).

At the one-day ex­hi­bi­tion in a cafe in cen­tral Bel­grade, ex­tra do­na­tions were col­lected in an old gui­tar case. Noory was to keep the pro­ceeds from his orig­i­nal paint­ings, which were auc­tioned at the start­ing price of 2,500 di­nars.

His fam­ily is among some 4,500 mi­grants stay­ing in 18 state-run camps in Ser­bia now. Some 40 per­cent of them are chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to Ivan Miskovic from the govern­ment’s refugee agency.

“They have taken a long, dif­fi­cult, se­ri­ous and dan­ger­ous trip,” Miskovic says, pledg­ing to help Noory “de­velop his gift”.

The young­ster says he would like to go to Switzer­land to study paint­ing and lan­guages, and the of­fi­cial ex­pressed hope that the mi­grants would even­tu­ally reach their pre­ferred des­ti­na­tions.

PHO­TOS BY WANG FUCHUN / PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Wang Fuchun’s black-and-white pho­to­graphs re­veal the lives of pas­sen­gers on trains.

AFP

Farhad Noory from Afghanistan looks at one of his art­works dur­ing his first ex­hi­bi­tion in Bel­grade.

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