Migration celebrated in Australian artist Zofrea's new work

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A new artwork by renown Australian painter Salvatore Zofrea is gracing the walls of one of Australia’s most famous Italian restaurants.

Artist Salvatore Zofrea's work fetches more than a million dollars on the international market.

But his latest work now graces the wall of the Sydney Italian restaurant, Lucio’s, which is owned by his long-time friend Lucio Galletto.

“This depicts a battle of triumph and it's been a long wait commissioned about 10 years ago,” Mr Zofrea said.

“We talked about the thing for many years and finally it's come to fruition.”

The new painting is based on the work of Renaissance artist Paolo Uccello, and it depicts the success of a migrant in a new land - a theme familiar to both men.

Mr Zofrea said he was tempted to use Mr Galletto's face in the painting but instead chose his mechanic - a hard working migrant from Armenia to depict the universality of the migrant experience. 

"You come to a new country to achieve and it's about determination and vision,” he said.

“So it's about power and strength this painting.

Mr Galletto grew up in a family restaurant that doubled as an art gallery, in Italy's north which is still in operation today.

"My wife is Australian and we met in Italy, we got married in Italy and I came," he said.

Mr Zofrea, also born in Italy, came to Australia as a child and has forged a career that has seen his work displayed around the world.

The pair met in Lucio’s and formed what has become a strong friendship.

“One day he came for lunch, he said to me ‘I am Salvatore Zofrea’,” Mr Galletto said.

“I said ‘whoa... you're my hero’. I call it friendship at first sight."

And after years of badgering, Mr Galletto has finally got a commissioned Salvatore Zofrea artwork for his restaurant walls.

“Finally I got it and I’m very, very, happy,” he said.

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