The Portrait Circle Project (for Rahab's Sisters, 2019)

The Portrait Circle Project (2019)

The Portrait Circle Project is a grant funded project for the organization Rahab's Sisters, located in Portland, Oregon. 

Rahab’s Sisters creates community through "radical hospitality" with those marginalized by poverty, houselessness, sex work, violence and addiction. Every Friday they welcome women and gender-nonconforming individuals to share a seated dinner, pick up needed hygiene supplies and join in community activities together. The organization creates a safe space to connect with others and build relationships that break down barriers and often inspire growth.

Human beings long to be seen and known by others, but many Rahab’s Sisters guests feel invisible and unwanted as they move through their days. People avert their eyes as they drive by someone with a sign on the side of the road. They look the other way when a person experiencing a mental health crisis is mocked on a bus. They sigh with impatience as someone digs in her purse for the last bits of change to pay for her groceries. They cast a stern look of judgment at needle tracks on an arm.

Rahab’s Sisters welcomes each person as they are, seeing everyone as a unique human being worthy of dignity and love. As one guest exclaimed after being greeted by name on her arrival at dinner, “This is the only place I go where anyone is happy to see me!”

The Portrait Circle Project is an opportunity to share with the wider community what guests and volunteers experience at Rahab’s Sisters every week – the chance to be seen and acknowledged as an equal member of the community. The right to be known with dignity and respect.

I was commissioned by Rahab's Sisters to create portraits of their guests, volunteers and other community members who live, work or attend school in SE Portland. The project is comprised of over 50 portraits of strong women, displayed side by side, regardless of their life circumstance or status. 

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