As Is

As Is

Keith Cook was addicted to crack. He was homeless, too. With the help of a whole lot of friends, he got clean, and married, and had a gaggle of kids. Now he works at a community garden in Southeast Washington, D.C. A few weeks ago he showed up to work and found a portrait of himself leaning against the garden’s fence.

How would you react? I imagine most of us would freak out. “Who painted this? Do I have a stalker? I knew I should have deleted my Facebook account back in ’06!” Maybe you’d go the other way. Maybe you’d feel honored to be noticed, to be remembered.

That would run a little nearer to artist Nicole Bourgea’s intention. In an increasingly technology-driven age, Bourgea hoped to let a few lucky souls know they have been seen, noticed, remembered. She walked the streets of the District, met random strangers, and made them – and the surroundings where their paths crossed – the subjects of large-scale paintings for her “urban portrait project.” The ultimate step was installing the portraits back where she originally crossed paths with her subjects with a sign stating, “If this is you, the painting is yours to take.” Let’s hope all of them stumble upon themselves.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 12:54 pm and is filed under Greater Good. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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