Miami’s Multi-Ethnic Children Shine as Artistic Originals
Faces of the World Photo Exhibition Showcases Beauty in Diversity
by Warren Jervey
It’s about contrast and harmony, a rich blending of culture and colors and vibrant canvases as large as life . . . because they are real life. Faces of the World brings together a fascinating assemblage of photographs showcasing the richness and diversity of Miami’s melting pot culture as seen in the faces of its children with mixed racial and ethnic heritages. In a city that is a magnet for people from around the globe, marriages across racial and ethnic lines are commonplace. And at a time when unity and inclusion are more important than ever before, Miami teaches a lesson that is also as large as life: Diversity is beautiful, and the commonalities that unite us are greater than the differences that divide us.
The well honed creative skills of internationally recognized, Miami photographer Viveca Ljung brings together dozens of oversized black-and-white photographs of 180 young people born and bred in this international city. Included are families of well known figures, such as NBA star Scottie Pippen, and Ljung’s own multi-cultural children, while broad cross-section of Miami residents are also represented. Fair-haired Scandinavian looks blend with exotic Latin appeal, while Roman, Turkish, Panamanian and German blood combine in a series of beautifully nuanced portraits mounted in the stark, high-ceiling industrial space. Like the portraits, every child is an unmistakable original.
Ljung, a Swedish-born, Miami-based model and photographer, brings a powerfully direct style to her work that eschews today’s often embellished photographic style to allow the innocence and individuality of her subjects to shine. Content and confident, they seem untouched by a world that at times does not share their diverse heritage and open mind-minded point-of-view.
“In Miami especially, there are so many children with mixed nationalities. As a mother, I wanted to share a positive message about our youth and how their pure innocence seems to allow them to all get along beautifully here,” commented the photographer.
The exhibition’s gala waterfront opening brought together a host of art aficionados and VIP guests as well as numerous children featured in the photography, along with their parents. They enjoyed a special evening in the warehouse’s attractive, open-air courtyard, flanked by the river glimmering in the moonlight. Guests were treated to Notorious Pink rose wine, chilled Estrella Damm beer and other libations as well as Cuban specialties from El Palacio De Los Jugos. Icelandic Glacial water also provided refreshment for the youngsters and other guests .
On hand to mark the event were exhibition collaborators Cecilie Jorgensen Kay and Shiri Fauer, themselves Miami residents with mixed ethnicity offspring. Warehouse owner Kent Kay and his visionary mother, Virginia Kay, who helped launch the Miami River renaissance, also joined in the celebration. The opening was followed by a festive After-Party at KIKI on the River, Kay’s property that is now home to the Miami River eaterie and up-and-coming hotspot.
An attractive coffee table book is available showcasing the exhibition and its message of inclusion and unity, as are show t-shirts and caps. A percentage of all profits benefit charities that include Miami’s Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Rescue Earth.
Photographer credits: VIVECA LJUNG, CEO, Viveca Ljung Photography,