Inmate gifts Ben Ryan with portrait
Inmate Veresa Naceno today gifted national 7s coach Ben Ryan with a portrait of the coach. Ryan was at the Tagimoucia Art Gallery in Korovou, Suva to meet Naceno and receive the gift. Naceno said he had been inspired to paint a portrait of the 7s coach as a build-up to the Rio Olympics and […]
Inmate Veresa Naceno today gifted national 7s coach Ben Ryan with a portrait of the coach.
Ryan was at the Tagimoucia Art Gallery in Korovou, Suva to meet Naceno and receive the gift.
Naceno said he had been inspired to paint a portrait of the 7s coach as a build-up to the Rio Olympics and took him approximately one month to finish his art project.
NACENO: “I began working on the painting in June. When I started working on the painting, I knew Fiji would come back with gold. We watched the Olympics throughout the week of the event on television so we were fortunate to have watched all of Fiji’s 7s matches.”
“When our 7s team won, it boosted my morale and fuelled my desire to finish the painting. I really wanted to gift it to Mr Ben Ryan and I still cannot believe that he made time to come here today so I can present it to him.”
Naceno also acknowledged Feroz Khalil as the photographer of the picture which he used as a guide for the portrait.
NACENO: “I received a copy of the MaiLife magazine in June and Mr Ben Ryan’s picture was on the cover so I used that as a guide. I added a few personal touches like changing some of the colours to ‘make it my own’.”
Naceno said that he was so nervous about meeting Ben Ryan.
NACENO: “We couldn’t be there to support him (Ryan) and the team during their arrival so the best thing I could do was create a portrait and pray that he’ll be here to see it. I was so nervous about meeting Ben Ryan because this is the first time I’m meeting a person I’ve done a portrait of in person.”
Ryan said he was “honoured to have a painting done by a very talented young artist”.
RYAN: “I’ve seen this all over social media and everyone has been telling me about the famous artists in prison who’s just painted a picture of me so I’m here to meet the man and I’m very grateful.”
— Kelera Serelini (@lelaserelini) August 24, 2016
RYAN: “When I was young I didn’t necessarily do what I should have done, and a couple of my friends ended up in prison so I know a little bit about what you guys are going through. I know this (painting) helps you in rehabilitation and will give you a drive or focus so I’m glad.”
Ryan said he hoped to return for another visit to the gallery before he departs the country.