About Multicultural Children Portraits

I believe children and the environment are the most precious resources we have. If we allow children to blossom fully by providing them, regardless of their background, with love, protection, a healthy environment, and rich learning opportunities, then, they would learn how to live together in harmony with themselves, others and the environment. To express my beliefs through my work,
I painted 16 large portraits of Australian children from culturally diverse families. I exhibited these in 2007 at NEXUS Multicultural Art Gallery in Adelaide and in 2009 at Arya Gallery in Tehran.

Catalogue essay by Professor Dorothy Scott, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia:

"Faces of Australia’s Children"

',. Abbas Mehran has painted a magnificent series of large portraits representing the rich and diverse cultural origins of Australia’s children, with each child’s face framed by the flora of this land. They
have been painted with a reverence for each child, and with a reverence for the earth. Collectively they speak to us of the beauty, the resilience, the dignity and the inner light of children. Each child transmits a security in his or her sense of self, suggesting they have the inner strength to answer the questions which are paramount in the journey of all humans, regardless of colour and
culture. Where do I come from? Where do I belong? Who am I? Where am I going? Do I matter? These paintings do not tell the story of the pain inflicted on children by adults, individually and collectively. They do not tell of the wounds of Aboriginal children taken from their families, of child soldiers forced to kill, of refugee children imprisoned behind barbed wire, of children living in poverty suffering great hardship, or of children living in affluence being corrupted by consumerism. Such images make us want to close our eyes. Abbas Mehran invites us to open our eyes. He paints a vision of what children should and could be. In an era in which the spirit of the age is one of fear and despair, Abbas Mehran nurtures hope."

Children Stories:

My name is ARTUR. I am 8 years old. My parents were born in Poland. They left Poland in 1988 and lived in London until 1990. Then they moves to Australia. I was born in Brisbane while my parents were on holiday there, but I live in Adelaide. I enjoy swimming, playing soccer, and Aussie football . I often go bush walking in the Grampians and the Flinders Rangers with my family. We love it.

My name is AYDA. I am six years old. My parents are Mandaian. They are from Iran. They came to Australia as refugees when I was 24 days old. I have a little sister Alisha, who was born in Australia. I am good at reading and gymnastics. When I grow up, I would like to be a teacher or a vet.

My name is DARIUS.  I am 8 years old. My father was born in Iran. He has lived in Argentina, the USA and Australia. My mother is Australian. She is seven/eight generation Australian of Irish/English descent. When I was 3, I wanted to be a policeman. At 6, I wanted to be president of the Earth. Now, I want to be a soccer player

My name is EMORI. I am eight years old. I am Fijian and Adnyamathanha. My people come from the Flinders Ranges and Fiji. My friend is Rafael. I love jumping into the Waterfall in Fiji. When I grow up, I would like to be a builder, or a spaceman.

My Name is ISABELLA. I am 6 years old. My dad is a Black American. My dad came to Australia in 1982. My mother was born in Australia. Her Mum was born in Scotland and immigrated to Australia in 1961. I love doing gymnastics and have just started to play basketball. I like singing, drawing and writing.

My name is EMA. I am eleven years old. My mum was born into an Adnyamathanha family in the Flinders Ranges. She and I are Mathari. My dad is from Fiji. I am learning Fijian and Adnyamathanha. When I grow up I would like to be a barrister, or a politician, or a food taster. I enjoy climbing trees and walking places I haven't been before, and spending time with my family.

My name is RAFAEL. I am six years old. My parents were born in Australia, and my grandparents in Lebanon, Palestine and New Zealand. There are many cultures in my background. I am learning gymnastics, Arabic, Spanish, Adnyamathanha, and lots of other things at school. I love animals and birds.

My name  is SACHEM. I am 8 years old. I am descendant of Australian Aboriginal, African American, and Spanish parents. My father is of African American, and Spanish descent. My mother is Australian Aboriginal I like to play Australian Football. I love sport, and my dream is to be Goal Keeper for the Manchester United.

My name is JESSICA. I am seven years old. My mother was born in South China and my Father in Cambodia. My Father is Chinese/Cambodian. My two sisters and I were born in Australia. I like music and play piano. When I grow up, I want to be a teacher or a shop keeper.

My name is LOGAN. I am 7 years old. I was born in Australia, My mother was born in Scotland. She migrated to Australia when she was 6 years old. My father was born in Indonesia. He came to Australia in1989. When I grow up, I want to be a Scientist or a sportsman.

My name is MWENDA. I am 12 years old. My parents were born in Congo. We come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. We went to Zambia in 2004 and lived there for two Years, and then we came to Australia. I like cooking and listening to music very much. I play saxophone.

My name is SAM. I am 7 years old. My Mum and Dad are the first generation Australians. My Grand-dad and Nanna came from Glasgow, Scotland. They have been here since 1961, and they still talk funny. My Oma is from Germany. She talk to me in German sometimes. She came here in 1956. I play guitar. I love dinosaurs, and I want to  be a paleontologist/scientist. I like Australian football, and I love Port Power.

My name is YANI.  I am 8 years old. My father if Aboriginal. He was born in the Great Victorian Dessert.  My mother is first generation Australian of Greek descent. When I was five, I wanted to be just myself. Now I want to play soccer and football. I play soccer for the school.


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