Meet the Refugee Known as 'Little Picasso'

Farhad Nouri has earned the nickname among his fellow migrants
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 13, 2017 6:18 PM CDT
'Little Picasso' Wows in Serbian Refugee Camp
Farhad Nouri sits behind his portrait of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in his room in the "Krnjaca" collective centre near Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, March 13, 2017. A 10-year-old boy from Afghanistan is known as Little Picasso among migrants in a Serbia asylum camp because of his artistic talent....   (Darko Vojinovic)

Farhad Nouri is known among migrants as Little Picasso. The 10-year-old from Afghanistan, who is stranded in Serbia together with his parents and two younger brothers, has earned his nickname for two reasons: he knows how to draw and he loves Pablo Picasso, the AP reports. "One day I will draw him too," Nouri said of the famous Spanish artist, his big dark eyes shining with delight. For now, Nouri's drawing pad includes portraits of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, actress Angelina Jolie, artist Salvador Dali, and Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic. His talent has earned Nouri the status of a local celebrity. He recently met US actor Mandy Patinkin, who works with refugees with the International Rescue Committee, and who has urged President Donald Trump to be more welcoming to people displaced from war-torn countries.

The Nouri family is among several thousand migrants who have been stuck in Serbia looking for ways to reach Western Europe amid closed borders and mounting anti-migrant sentiments. "Merkel maybe can do something to open the border," Nouri said in English, which he has learned over the year since he fled war and poverty in his home country. Nouri also likes to draw portraits of his family and friends, fairytale castles, nature or anything else that comes to mind. Painting, he said, has helped during the flight. "I was in Turkey, I was in Greece," Nouri said of the trip. "Here in the camp I like my painting, I like drawing my feelings and faces." He usually draws at night, in his bed, while it is quiet outside. "I teach myself. Sometimes I see from the videos, on YouTube, and I learn," he said. (More refugees stories.)

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