The 2019 Memory Project: Creating Portraits of Kindness for Nigerian Children

“The Memory Project” is a nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create portraits for youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, and extreme poverty. Over the past four years, Drawing and Printmaking and NAHS students have created over 200 portraits for children in Madagascar, the Philippines, and Syrian refugees in Jordan, Puerto Rico, and the Rohingya in Rakhine.

This year, students at OHHS will be creating portraits for 45 portraits for Nigerian Children. Nigeria is a country located on the western coast of Africa with a bustling economy and geography as diverse as its people. It is home to over 250 ethnic groups with over 500 languages and a variety of customs and traditions. Since 2014, over 2.4 million Nigerians have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency, living far away from home in fear of the next attack and kidnapping by the terrorist organization. Now, they suffer from additional destruction and displacement caused by warring factions of herders and farmers as they battle over resources, land, and religion.

Still, Nigerian children hope for a safe present and a better future. The portraits the students make for the school children in Nigeria will remind each child of their own strength and beauty; it will show them that someone living far away is paying attention to the challenges that they face. The ultimate goal of the project is to create portraits to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. The project also provides an opportunity for students to practice kindness and global awareness.

“The Memory Project” portraits are created by students enrolled in the Drawing and Printmaking course (grades 9-12). Below are images of the OHHS Drawing and Printmaking students selecting their Nigerian child:

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