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Storytelling meets arts: Faces of Richmond offers window into the lives and legacies of local seniors

Everyone has a story to tell, which is the impetus behind Faces of Richmond exhibit.
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Faces of Richmond exhibit features 12 portraits of local elders painted by 10 local artists in celebration of BC Seniors' Week 2022. 

Everyone has a story to tell and when you’ve lived a lot of years, you have even more of them.

This is the impetus behind Faces of Richmond, an exhibit hosted by the Community Arts Council of Richmond (CACR) at  Minoru Centre for Active Living Seniors Centre from June 6 to 12.

The show features 12 portraits of local elders painted by 10 local artists in celebration of BC Seniors' Week 2022. 

Susan Ness, president of CACR, told the Richmond News the exhibit aims to make visitors feel like they have entered the home of a new friend where they can catch glimpses of that friend’s life stories and even legacy. 

"The Faces of Richmond visitor will leave the exhibit knowing more about Richmond and the kind and generous individuals who have shared stories about their interesting lives and how they came to live in Richmond," said Ness. 

Mell D'Clute, one of the participating artists said, for her, the project was as much about listening as it was about painting.

Before picking up a brush, she spent time chatting to Ingrid Schonwelder.

“I felt so captivated by her story,” said D’Clute. "I loved the sparkle in her eyes and her lovely warm smile, and I hope I was able to captivate those qualities in my art. 

Through conversation, D’Clute learned that Schonwelder absolutely loves nature.

“So I thought the background of her in a forest location seemed quite appropriate," said D'clute.

Given that storytelling was an essential part of the creative process, it made sense that the exhibit also include recordings of the seniors talking about their lives, said D’Clute.

"I have heard every interview, and edited quite a few of them personally, and they are all touching and all share their life experiences, what brings them joy, life lessons learned, and even some history of our great city of Richmond.”

Susan Stolberg, CACR's vice President, said she hopes that the seniors' stories and portraits will help foster more understanding, acceptance and compassion for the local and global community of senior people. 

People who are unable to attend the exhibition in person can view the virtual exhibition, which will be hosted on the CACR website.