Discover Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre's 'Portrait Project'
Tuesday 06 September 2022
Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC) was supported by Yarra City Arts to create a series of portraits of its community members by artist Amir Tehrani.
The project took place between April – June 2022.
CNLC’s vision is that we are a community that connects people, creates opportunities and challenges disadvantage. As an RTO, Learn Local and Neighbourhood House they work closely with a diverse community in Carlton. This is represented by people living with disabilities, living in public housing and many cultures including people from the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Vietnam and China.
This project aimed to capture and celebrate the diversity of their community, and the people who have contributed to CNLC as participants, volunteers, and staff.
Artist Amir Tehrani was commissioned to paint the portraits of the CNLC community. Amir’s study, work, and life experience have given him great insight into people. Originally an architect and jewellery maker from Iran, he arrived in Australia in 2013.
“My work is inspired by my own very personal journey where I was forced to cut ties with one place and establish new roots in another”, says Amir.
Since arriving in Australia Amir has immersed himself in his passion for painting. He is a strong advocate for people who have been displaced and has volunteered with people seeking asylum; facilitating art workshops where participants can (in his words) “express themselves and occupy their minds in time of uncertainty.”
“I have started the project by meeting the members at CNLC to take some photos for painting their portraits. Not only was the centre full of energy and love but also the members were lively and colourful. So, I have decided to portrait them in a colourful pallet. I have found them so happy and lucky there helping each other, which made me feel like I should depict their portraits in a most energetic, friendly frame. I’ve never had this experience ever and so glad for this opportunity.” Amir Tehrani.
Find out more on Amir and his work
Seven subjects had their portraits painted as part of the Community Portrait Project. The subjects, which included participants, volunteers, and staff, came from a range of backgrounds and different experiences of being connected to CNLC. Amir was joined by a volunteer who interviewed the subjects about their involvement and connection to CNLC, and what community means to them – whilst Amir took their photographs.
The portraits and bios are now lining the hallway of our neighbourhood house and are doing a brilliant job of brightening up our walls and celebrating our diverse community. The feedback from participants and general CNLC community has been very positive. Students have enjoyed seeing their peers and teachers faces celebrated through art – and the subjects have been very positive about the outcome, a few wanting copies for their homes.
This project has been a great way for CNLC to expand its creative endeavours, and we hope is the beginning of more programs that bring the community together through art.
Presented by Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre and Yarra City Arts.