"49 Portraits" exhibit honors Pulse Night Club victims

SAVANNAH, Ga. - One Savannah woman turned her sorrow into an inspiration to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse Night Club.

"Just thinking what can we do? What can I do, as an individual, to create something loving or repairing in the face of something tragic," Mia Merlin said.

The artists and Armstrong State University lecturer decided to start the "49 Portraits Project".

She sent out an ask for artists to create a portrait for each of the 49 people killed during the shooting. Soon artists from coast-to-coast were creating portraits by drawing, painting and even embroidering the victims' faces.

"It's a way to show respect and a way to remember people and the process of creating a portrait is really intimate and getting to know that person, " featured Savannah artist Jenny Eitel said. Eitel chose to paint Paul Terrell Henry, a loving father of two who died because of the attack.

"He's a really good person and he just had a warmth and a laughter," Eitel said.

The gallery below features the victims created by 49 artists.

Merlin decided to use the medium of visual art after seeing the same concept used after the 2015 Charleston church shooting.

"It's all stuff that really hard to put into the words and hard to feel like you're connected to with words at least for me. And Art does that. You know, art does the job that words don't," she said.

These portraits are on display in Orlando at Terrace Gallery in City Hall until Wednesday and will then be given to the families of the victims.


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