Students in Nigeria Receive Portraits Drawn By LHS Art Classes

Sophomore Autumn Schoolcraft presents Casey Kirklin with the portrait Schoolcraft drew. Teachers sponsor students to help the students participate in the Memory Project Organization.

Sam Lee, Assistant Editor of Photography/Tech

As the children of Nigeria receive their presents from some far away land, they are eager to open what is inside. Children observe the portraits that someone drew of them. They’re confused, then realizing that it is a portrait of them, they are overjoyed seeing their face for the first time. They flip the portrait over revelaving a hand print of another person from across the world. As they put their hand on the hand print, they join hands from across the world.

Art teacher Rebecca Harrison partners with Memory Project Organization to send children of Nigeria a hand-drawn portrait of themselves. The advanced art students draw the portraits of the Nigerian children to send to the kids in hopes of allowing them to see themselves in an area where there aren’t many opportunities to see themselves.

“The memory project was the project we introduced last year,” Harrison said. “We completed two different projects last year with the memory project organization, and so this year the students were interested in doing it again. There are three different opportunities in the students picking the Nigerian project.”

Only the advanced art students can participate in the Memory Project. They can be sponsored by staff members at the school. 

“Any of the advanced art students are invited to participate and they signed up, and then from there we go about getting that staff sponsor,” Harrison said. “Really, it’s just a dedication to the actual completion of the project so students expressed an interest in signing up and actually committing to the project.”

Students are provided with a picture that the Memory Project Organization actually took from around the world. With that picture they are given a lengthy deadline to make a portrait of the child provided.

“At times it was a struggle because I couldn’t focus or wasn’t happy with it but other times I could start to see it really come along,” junior Carlin Root said. “I was actually able to go to a third world country and I remember how much the kids enjoyed the cameras.”

The administration fee is fifteen dollars that covers the postage. The memory project goes to Nigeria and delivers the portraits and makes a video  of their reaction.

“The memory project asked students to trace their hands and put it on the back of the portrait,” Harrison said. “It was amazing to watch the children in Nigeria line their hands up because they were touching hands with someone across the world and so we really literally know we’re joining hands across the world.”