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Inspired by the faces of the world

World Vision
23 November 2016 by Lionia Singh
Inspired by the faces of the world

Lionia with one of her artworks from the 'Faces of the World' collection - a Karo Warrior.

For my 2016 Archibald entry I wanted to paint a person who as well as being recognised for their high achievement, someone who has changed the lives of so many for the better, not only in Australia but around the world. Someone who inspires me and represents what I value most in this World – love, peace and humanity.

The painting: Hope 

Portrait of Tim Costello with children representing the main continents where World Vision Australia does most of its incredible and charitable work.

The children are in the dark but their faces are lit up with the light of a candle held by a Buddhist child monk, who to me represents the innocence, peace and love for all living beings. Tim is strangely oversized, this represents the Western culture – its dominance and wealth but also the power that it has to make a difference. Tim has been depicted in the light with a black background and with dripping black paint in his shoulders.

The idea was to show a man who although he lives in a very privileged society, still carries the weight of the World on his shoulders.
He looks towards the children and up in hope for their future and change.

'Hope' - artwork by Lionia Singh

Lionia’s artwork of Tim Costello, entitled ‘Hope’

I love experiencing new cultures and visiting different places. The richness in colours, traditions and stories fascinate, amaze and move me.

At the core of it, there is humanity. The person.

I was born in Portugal and migrated to Australia with my family when I was seven years old. I graduated with an arts degree in fashion design from RMIT, and established my own fashion label which has been stocked in stores around Australia.

Now I focus my artistic energy on painting. Recently, I was inspired to create a series of oversized portraits based on different cultures from around the world.

Regardless of our skin colour, facepaint or backgrounds, we are all individuals with desires, hopes, and needs. I try to portray that in the eyes and expressions of the people I paint.

I truly love all of the paintings in this collection and have a different connection with them all. Each one of them reflects aspects of our lives and I want them to be a celebration of difference – of multiculturalism and acceptance.

Lionia's artwork entitled 'Beads of Hope'.

Lionia’s artwork entitled ‘Beads of Hope’.

If I had to choose a favourite, it would be ‘Beads of Hope’. While she has challenges, issues, threats, she is also has hope. She is beautiful, strong, graceful and she urges you to engage. When I look at her it seems she can see right through to the real me.

My inspiration comes from all over the place. I love to paint different traditional, tribal and indigenous peoples and the amazing diversity of the backgrounds. I know many people from these cultures are in very difficult situations, but I am taken by the individual inside, so I try to capture something in their expression or eyes. The colours, face paint or decorations usually create interest but there is also the person behind it.

Some of us are incredibly fortunate that we don’t have to think about satisfying our basic needs, while many have a daily struggle just to find clean water or a safe place to sleep.

I’m thrilled to be partnering with World Vision Australia to launch the collection. The $15 entry fee to the Faces of the World charity art event on the 26th of November, 2016 will be donated to World Vision Australia, as will a share of the proceeds from all work sold on the night. Through my art, I wanted to celebrate the fascinating colours and amazing diversity of people of the world, and in partnering with World Vision I hope to play my small part in improving life for some who are less fortunate.


I chose World Vision Australia as an experienced and worthy charity, and because of the reach of the work that World Vision does – spreading around the world. Their focus is wide ranging and based on needs in different communities and countries.

I really feel that World Vision Australia does some amazing work and achieves some wonderful outcomes in helping people. I also chose World Vision because it was a good fit with the global theme of this collection: World + Vision. Both words with meaning, in the context of my goal to do some good from this event.

My hope is that this event will create some conversations and awareness as well as help raise some much needed funds for charitable work. While I am not there on the ground donating my time, I feel that through my art and this event, I will be doing my bit to help someone somewhere who I will probably never meet but who needs it.

Lionia’s daughter and friends will also be hosting a children’s art exhibition on Sunday afternoon called Orielle & Friends. There will be children’s activities throughout the afternoon, all artwork is for sale and a percentage of sales will be donated to World Vision.
Lionia is also passionate about teaching children about philanthropy and the event is for children of all ages but most suitable for those aged 10 – 15 years.

If you can’t make it to the launch, we’ll also be selling calendars featuring the artwork – with a share of each calendar sold to be donated towards the good work of World Vision Australia.

Lionia Singh Lionia Singh

Lionia is a Melbourne-based artist.


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