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“Portraits of Kindness: A Memory Project Exhibition” at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts

Posted on: October 25, 2018 12:00 pm
portraits of student

The OHHS Drawing and Printmaking students will be exhibiting this year's Memory Project portraits at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts. The Memory Project exhibition will showcase portraits created for the Rohingya refugee children before they are sent off for delivery by the organization. Compilation images of past portraits will be showcased as well to illustrate the OHHS students' global impact through the works they've created as a part of The Memory Project, and hopefully inspire involvement from many more young artists.

The Memory Project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and extreme poverty. Given that youth in such situations usually have few personal keepsakes, the purpose of the portraits is to provide them with meaningful mementos of their youth. The project also allows art students to practice kindness and global awareness while enhancing their portraiture skills.

Over the past three years, Drawing and Printmaking and NAHS students have created over 140 portraits for children in Madagascar, the Philippines, and Syrian refugees in Jordan. This year the NAHS students are creating 12 portraits for children in Puerto Rico and Columbia and Drawing and Printmaking students are creating 50 portraits for children in Rohingya. Below are descriptions of the countries provided by The Memory Project:

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has faced many economic challenges over the past decades. Lack of adequate funding has forced many schools to close, and the percentage of elementary students who qualify for free and reduced lunch is around 90%. Those challenges were already present on the island before Hurricanes Irma and Maria unleashed total destruction in September 2017.

The children in this project all live in a very poor shanty town. Over the past decades, many Colombians have fled to such shanty towns to escape the drug-related violence, murders, and kidnappings in their country's more rural areas. Systemic poverty in these shanty towns leads to many on-going social problems, especially for women and children. Fortunately, these children are being helped by an organization that provides them with healthy nutrition and early childhood education.

The Rohingya ethnic minority has been called the "most unwanted" group of people on Earth. Nearly a million fled genocide in Rakhine Myanmar last year and are currently sheltering in a huge refugee settlement in Bangladesh. Most of these families have little more than a few cooking pans and a handful of clothes. For these children, who have rarely seen photos of themselves, the portraits will be gifts they could never have previously imagined.

The exhibition can be viewed in the 1st floor Community Gallery from December 4th through the 31st. There will be an opening reception on December 8th from 6:00-7:30 pm in conjunction with the Fitton Christmas Spectacular, a performance that begins at 7:30 pm. The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Ave, Hamilton, OH 45011.