Las Vegas mass shooting

Beautiful Lives, remembered

Artist Quin Sweetman gathers 55 artists to paint portraits of the 58 people murdered in last October's mass shooting in Las Vegas

By BONNIE MELTZER

The Beautiful Lives Lost exhibition at the Art Institute of Portland during July is a tribute to honor the fifty-eight people whose lives were cut short by senseless gun violence in Las Vegas on Oct 1, 2017. Artist Quin Sweetman organized the project to help us grieve this national tragedy, in which a lone gunman firing into the crowd from above at a country music concert killed 58 people and injured another 851. She gathered 55 artists to make portraits of the 58 people murdered.

“We really don’t like referring to the people who lost their lives that day as victims,” said Sweetman. “All of them were people, not statistics, living rich, rewarding and beautiful lives. They were invisible to the perpetrator, but all the artists who committed to this project clearly see their humanity. The artists recognize, remember and honor those lost lives with their artworks. They volunteered their time, materials, and talents as a loving gesture to bring some comfort to the families, loved ones and communities by showing that people care about their loss.” Following the exhibition, all portraits will be given to the families.

Charles Hartfield. Oil on canvas; artist Quin Sweetman.

A powerful visual impact is created by showing all of these portraits together. Each face told a story of a life lived. We are all reminded of that the common thread that bound them together — their love of country & western music and their curtailed lives. The opening reception was a joyous event even though its origins were seeped in sadness. The portraits evoked life and joy.

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