Artist Statement

Like many people, I had heard the name Amnesty International whenever human rights were being infringed, and was very impressed by the work the organization was doing. However, I knew little about how they attained their goals until I attended a couple of provincial meetings in Halifax. There I found that most of the grass roots work is done by small Urgent Action Circles that write letters on behalf of the victims of injustice.

This made me wonder how I as an artist could contribute, and I thought that the best way would be to paint portraits of the people that Amnesty International was fighting for, since portraits seem to have a greater impact than photographs or verbal descriptions. I persuaded a few friends to form an Urgent Action Circle in my community of Oakfield. We receive case information by email, and requested ones in which there was an image of the victim that I could use to paint the portrait. I also incorporated information I found on the internet.


We are constantly amazed by the bravery of people fighting for justice in countries that do not have the kind of democracy we have in Canada. Several members of our Circle are immigrants, and we feel very fortunate to be in this wonderful country. This makes us very aware of the plight of people in other countries who are not so lucky. Also, as immigrants we realize how difficult it is for Canadians to relate to people facing oppression in other countries.

We hope that the portraits will help people relate to these victims of injustice, who are fighting for human rights that we take for granted. Carol immigrated to Halifax to work as a research scientist with DFO. She also had a lifelong passion for painting, culminating in the completion of her BFA degree at NSCAD in 2005. Her interest in investigating the wonders of the world around her, which led her to a career as a biologist, has also led to paintings of landscape, still life and portraits.

Apart from exhibitions in Nova Scotia, her work has been accepted for juried shows in Montreal, Saint John, Calgary, Red Deer, and New York. Portraits by her are installed in the IWK hospital, the Queen Elizabeth II Health Centre and the Halifax office of the CNIB. Her work was bought by the Nova Scotia Art Bank in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. Her paintings are at the Art Sales and Rental Gallery in Halifax, Swoon Gallery in Hammonds Plains, and the ADJA gallery in Liverpool.

In 2005 she received the Elizabeth Greenshields award, and in 2008 she received a Nova Scotia provincial creation grant to do the project resulting in this show.