FOR Nawal Khatiwada painting isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life.
Escaping from a country where expressing his artistic side was almost unimaginable, Mr Khatiwada has had to work hard to regain his confidence.
In 2010 he arrived in Australia from Nepal as a refugee and settled in Werrington.
Mr Khatiwada, who recently won the Sydney’s first ‘‘People’s Choice’’ moving art gallery, said moving to Australia was a big relief for him and his family.
‘‘Since I was a child I always wanted to paint and express myself, which I couldn’t do in Nepal, it just wasn’t accepted.
‘‘Now since living in Australia I have had the freedom to paint what I want," he said.
Mr Khatiwada was one of 20 other finalists who entered the Me, Myself and I project run by the Nepean Arts and Design Centre.
His self-portrait, which depicted his first reaction to life in Australia, was the most popular among the public.
‘‘Winning this prize has brought me much happiness,’’ he said.
Mr Khatiwada has been accepted into the University of Western Sydney to start a degree in Nursing but is determined to continue his art.
‘‘Although fine art is my passion I need a stable career to support myself and going to university will help me achieve this goal," he said.
Mr Khatiwada’s artwork is on display at the Penrith Regional Gallery and The Lewers Bequest during March.