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PHS Students Unveil Portraits of Afghan Youth

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PHS Students Unveil Portraits of Afghan Youth
Posted on 06/27/2018
This is the image for the news article titled PHS Students Unveil Portraits of Afghan YouthOver the course of several months, Portland High students in Barbara Loring’s Art II class have been working on a special project to paint the portraits of children and teens living in Kabul, Afghanistan through a partnership with The Memory Project, an international non-profit. The portrait subjects are youth displaced or affected by loss, violence and war, and are currently being cared for by an Afghan social service.

The Memory Project has helped art students create over 100,000 portraits of youth from 43 countries since 2004, and arranges for the portraits to be sent as gifts to their subjects.

When beginning the project, the art students only knew the name, age, and favorite color of their subjects, and worked from photographs. “We looked long and hard at their expressions,” said Jean, a sophomore. Jean’s subject “[seemed] reserved but was still smiling.”

Elizabeth Thomas, another art student, said of her subject, “By now, I could pick [her] out in a crowd.” Elizabeth used her subject’s favorite color—red— as the backdrop for her portrait, hoping to communicate empowerment and heart.

The completed paintings will be sent from each Portland student over 6,000 miles to their subjects along with a message written in the Dari language.

The entire project was made possible thanks to a $500 grant from Painting for a Purpose, which covered the cost of supplies, shipping, documenting the project, and partnering with The Memory Project.
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