September 30, 2022 – October 16, 2022
The Ottawa Art Gallery
This year The Ottawa Mission celebrates the 100th anniversary of the addition of a brick wing to the “Stonehouse” building at the corner of Daly and Waller. Since that time, tens of thousands of people have entered through the famous “blue door”, so recognizable as a haven for those needing support, whether it be for emergency or longer term assistance to help them reclaim their lives. To commemorate this milestone, The Mission has partnered with the Ottawa Art Gallery and the artist Karen Bailey to profile the faces that have shaped our shelter over the years with a portrait exhibition to tell the stories of our clients, staff colleagues, volunteers, service partners and supporters through their faces and interactions with each other.
When we think of a portrait, pictures of prime ministers, presidents, athletes, actors, scientists, and others whose stature confers recognition often come to mind. Visibility can sometimes be taken to be the same as importance: subjects must be important to be “worthy” of a portrait.
These 31 portraits extend a key principle of our shelter: each person has inherent dignity by virtue of being human, and each person is worthy of unconditional acceptance, respect, attention and compassion. Through this exhibition, we discover their rich and meaningful stories together.
As a nationally recognized artist, Karen Bailey is a painter who focuses on unrepresented individuals, communities, and why their stories are important. Karen’s sensitive and empathetic brush captures perfectly those who have turned to The Mission for help, those who have provided it, and the profound connections between them.
As The Mission’s neighbour, the Ottawa Art Gallery continuously showcases the importance of art in our community to realize a sense of meaning, belonging and impact in everyday life. Through showing as well as telling the story of The Mission and its place within the network of community and individual relationships, we are delighted to build on our partnership with the Gallery.
Through these portraits, we show our community that we are all worthy.