The Waterlilies Portrait Project, a commemorative art exhibition featuring the portrait of 19 Afghani women forced to flee the Taliban in 2021, opened at the 330G exhibition gallery in Saskatoon on August 15, 2023.

Waterlily Prtrait Project web

Waterlilies, Carol Wylie, 2023

The especially devastating reality for young women and girls who can no longer receive an education, work, or meet in public spaces is life-altering. The artworks in the exhibition amplify the voices of the newcomer participants, bringing attention to the injustice and oppression their female relatives continue to endure and representing different interpretations of what constitutes a portrait.

The project emerged following the storytelling of three women over several months in a mentorship program, The Shoe Project, founded by Toronto author Katherine Govier. The stories were compiled into a book, Waterlilies — a metaphor for a generation born and raised during a democratic government. The Waterlilies stories will be shared as part of an upcoming event in Saskatoon in early September. 

For the Waterlilies Portrait Project, each woman was paired with a local artist to create a portrait. While many of the artists (all women) are painters — two of whom are funded by SK Arts for this project — the artworks in the exhibition represent different interpretations of what constitutes a portrait. They have in common a desire to support these young women in their struggle for human rights.  

The Waterlilies Portrait Project is on exhibit August 15 to 26, 2023 at 330G. The gallery opens to the public on August 19, August 20 and August 26 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. or by appointment (306) 664-6476.

The gallery is located at 330 Avenue G S, Saskatoon, SK S7M 1V2.

Project Participants: Fazila Alizada, Maryam Asghari, Elizabeth Babyn, Nadera Batori, Rachel Broussard, Michelle Cates, Lorna Conquergood, Rowen Dinsmore, Linda Duvall, Allyson Glenn, Geti Hakimi, Fatima Hassani, Fawzia Hassani, Iris Hauser, Sumaya Hosseini, Maryam Hussaini, Malika Ibrahimi, Shakiba Ismaili, Maliha Kazimi, Marie Lannoo, Gabriela Garcia-Luna, Joanne Lyons, Parwin Maqsudi, Monique Martin, Fahima Merzada, Fahima Mohammadi, Marzia Naderi, Sana Nasrati, Marwa Nasrati, Wendy Patterson, Diana Roelens, Dawna Rose, Betsy Rosenwald, Farzana Sarwari, Fariba Sultani, Cristine Andrew Stuckel, Negar Devine-Tajgardan, Leah Moxley Teigrob, Carol Wylie, Setara Zahidi, Emily Zdunich.