“Power of Portrait” Installed on Robson Street

Launched earlier this month, the “Power of Portrait – We are all in this together, Vancouver” – a citizen-led art initiative to reclaim boarded-up storefronts as canvases – is now complete. With the goal of reinforcing community connection during this time apart, project organizers invited residents of Greater Vancouver to submit either a self-portrait or a photo of a fellow self-isolator within their household to the project website. 48 portraits were selected to be printed in large-scale, black and white posters, and displayed on Robson Street (Sephora location at 1045 Robson Street). The installation was completed this week.

In total, 125 portraits were submitted. In addition to portraits, people were given the option of sharing their personal stories regarding how this time has impacted them. The submitted photos and stories can be viewed on the project’s website, Facebook and Instagram.

The poster selection was curated by a team of local artists and business owners with the aim of showcasing the city’s wonderful diversity. Due to space constraints, only 48 posters could be included in the final display.

The project was initiated by Andrea McLaren, a local clinical counsellor who was concerned about the psychological impact of social distancing and of the boarded-up businesses in our community during this time. She brought on a team to assist, including: Jai Djwa (digital media artist); Hanif Janmohamed (the project’s photo editor); Kimiko Karpoff (photographer) and John Goldsmith (photographer and social media).

“The responses we have received from people speak of the transformative impact of art and story – and in this case the invitation to step into the sense of what it is to be all in this together during this pandemic, as diverse people sharing in a vision,” says McLaren. “Special thanks to the Robson Street Business Association for the funding and support.”

The “Power of Portrait – We are all in this together, Vancouver,” was inspired by the artist JR and his Inside Out Project.

Media release and image provided by Morgan Somerville, Serena PR.

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