Opening reception: Saturday, January 20 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Artist talk: Saturday, January 20 at 3 p.m.
Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum
The Portraits in RED: Missing & Murdered Indigenous Peoples Painting Project began on May 5, 2020. Artist Nayana LaFond did not set out to create a project when she painted the first portrait of Lauraina Bear from Saskatchewan. She simply wanted to lend her skills to help raise awareness on May 5th, the day of remembrance and acknowledgement for Missing & Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP). Indigenous women and girls are 10 times more likely to go missing and be murdered than any other group.
Nayana received such an overwhelming response that she decided to paint another portrait. The response to the second portrait was even greater, so Nayana used social media to reach out to indigenous families, inviting them to send her images of their missing loved ones. She received more than 25 requests in the first day.
Nayana knew then that she would paint them all, and the requests have not stopped. As of November 2023, she’s made over 110 portraits of indigenous people who are missing or were murdered as well as those who are survivors, family members, and activists/advocates. She considers this work medicine and therefore paints the portraits for free. She provides unlimited free prints to the families and to survivors, who agree to have the originals shared with the public to raise awareness about Missing & Murdered Indigenous people. Through these portraits, Nayana hopes to provide a sense of empowerment and healing for those who participate and their families. The project has provided healing for herself and her family, who have been affected by this crisis as well.
For more information about the artist, the Portraits in RED project, and MMIW statistics and resources, visit: nayanaarts.com/portraits-in-red.
Exhibition image: Littlefox in RED