Kensington Portrait Project

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The Kensington Portrait Project | Philadelphia, PA | Project | 2008 - Present
Materials: silk, batik, silk thread, lambs wool, plant dyes, linen

The Kensington Portrait Project is a multi-media project about the history and changes of a Philadelphia neighborhood, revealed through the thoughts and memories of the people who have lived there. The Kensington Portrait Project began with interviews and photos of ten people who live in East Kensington.  Plant dyes were gathered from neighborhood roadsides, post-industrial lots, and train tracks, and used to create fabric dye for batik textile portraits. The portraits were created through a process of material experimentation and discovery of the physical terrain of the neighborhood where I lived. The Kensington Portrait Project connects the physical and social landscapes of East Kensington through a set of intimate reflections about issues of gentrification, drug use, generational shifts, and hopes for the future.

Funded by the Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant, 2008

© 2023 by JACK SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY.

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ERIN MARIE HOWLEY

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