Afghan "Little Picasso" becomes Serbian citizen

Last week, 11-year-old artist Farhad "Little Picasso" Nouri was given a Serbian citizenship. In light of Serbia's refugee politics, this seemingly generous acts highlights the hypocrisy of the ruling class.

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Afghan "Little Picasso" becomes Serbian citizen - NewsMavens
Boy holding a pencil, Flickr.

Why this story matters:

Besides "Little Picasso," Serbia has shown little enthusiasm when it comes to welcoming asylum seekers. 

The country hosts hundreds of refugees who meet all the requirements for asylum and who have nevertheless not been granted the right to stay. Many others are still in legal limbo.

The UNHCR has condemned the asylum procedure in Serbia as "unsafe."

According to experts, the new asylum legislation that was adopted last month will not improve the plight of refugees, and the new procedures are unlikely to be processed more rapidly than those formerly in place. 

The Serbian government is trying to boost its PR with the "Little Picasso" story, but it takes more than a press event to cover up for incompetent handling of the migrant question.

art, politics, migration

Details from the story:

  • Farhad Nouri is an 11-year-old refugee from Afghanistan who came to Serbia with his parents and two younger brothers on their way to Western Europe.
  • After the so-called "Balkan route" was shut down by tightening border controls, the family was stranded in a migrant camp in Belgrade and applied for asylum in Serbia. 
  • Farhad was dubbed "Little Picasso" because of his painting abilities and his love for the art of Pablo Picasso.
  • Last year, he held his first exhibition and donated all the profits to a sick Serbian boy.
  • The new law on asylum should come into effect in June 2018.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at