Artist Yolanda Chetwynd

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Community Portraits by Yolanda Chetwynd

see Artist's Statement below

Plaid Sweater Portrait
Red Tie Portrait
Orange Halo Portrait
Lace Collar Portrait
White Hair Portrait
Green Background Portrait
Yellow Shirt Portrait
Blue Polo Portrait
Bearded Portrait
Yellow Bubble Portrait
Blond Hair Portrait
Pink Border Portrait
Blue Band Shirt
Pink Shirt Portrait
GreenBlue Shirt Portrait
Green Border Portrait
GrayStripeBackground Portrait
GreenShirtWhiteCollar Portrait
PurpleShirtBlueCollar Portrait
BlueEyes Portrait

In 1984 I had been living and working in the L’Arche communities in London and India for two years, and I was asked to paint some faces of members of the community. Each L’Arche community around the world was asked to send delegates to Northern Ireland for a conference for learning to live with differences in peace. Because not all the members of the community could go, the members of the community left behind were to be represented by an outline of their body painted purple.

Someone at the Lambeth community decided that it would be much better to have portraits of the 22 missing members; because I had gone to art school I was given the job to paint 20 of them. The portraits were hung on the walls around the meeting rooms in Northern Ireland for the week-long conference. Many participants felt that they came to know these members of the Lambeth L’Arche community through the portraits. The paintings were given to me when I settled in Delaware and were neglected for 24 years.

Recently, I was going through my old work and deciding what was worth transferring to my new studio. I was struck by the powerful memories these portraits brought back to me of people and stories long forgotten.   So I worked on them using a collage process, using painted papers that I had been making for a while. These are my 20 portraits.

 L’Arche is an international group of communities living with mentally challenged adults and children at their center. Its founder, Jean Vanier, was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize the same year as Mother Theresa.