Today I want to shine a light on my friend Daggi Wallace and the beautiful work she is doing, literally and figuratively. Daggi is an incredibly talented pastel portrait artist. She has combined her talent and her love and concern for children to make a difference in the lives of the children in Port-au-Prince through her non- profit “Moni’s Kids”. But it’s the time she gives, not only to go there and deliver much needed books and supplies, but also to create these beautiful portraits of the children that live there, that let’s them know someone cares. I’m a huge admirer of hers and after you read about what she is doing, you will be too.
Painting portraits of children in need, I use all proceeds from the sale of these portraits to set up libraries in the orphanages where the children live and meet other needs of the children portrayed, such as scholarships and school supplies.
The children contribute to the artwork by drawing or writing on the background paper onto which their portraits are mounted. My aim is to give them a face and a voice, to be “seen and heard”. In addition, I hope that the children gain a sense of pride by helping create a piece of art which not only brings joy to the buyer but also improved living conditions for themselves.
The portraits have been exhibited in Miami and Dallas and were featured in the Dallas Morning News. There are 14 of the original 31 paintings left. Each piece is created using only archival, museum quality material, measures about 17″x 17″ including the frame and sells for $500. All proceeds go towards finishing the library and aiding the children in their education.
You can see the portraits by clicking here. Click on the individual portraits to read more about each child.
If you have no place on your home or office walls, consider donating the art to your local hospital and deducting it from your taxes. You may also simply donate to the project here and here.
Currently, the orphanage has finished a new building to house the library and a place for the kids to study, do arts and crafts and play board games. We are waiting for another group of volunteers to insulate the building against the heat and will then install shelving and deliver more books, games and art and craft supplies, and maybe even a computer or two if funds allow!
Painting portraits to me is all about exploring our shared humanity, the connection we have to each other and our common Source. The children I paint as part of this project are so often unseen, living in the shadows of our world, mostly invisible in our daily lives; yet they are no different from the rest of us, and equal to all of us. I aim to make visible their quiet dignity, the grace and joy they display under the most difficult circumstances. Living among us in our homes, even if only in paintings, they remind us of our blessings and connection to each other as human beings.