49 Portraits Project: 49 artists making portraits of the victims of the Pulse tragedy

49 Portraits Project: A group of 49 artists making portraits of the victims of the Pulse tragedy as a gift to their families.

49 Portraits Project

Mia Merlin, who created the 49 Portraits Project said:

I had the idea to create the 49 Portraits Project as a response to the Pulse nightclub tragedy. I was feeling helpless and overwhelmed like so many of us in the face of all the violence in our country and around the world and trying to think of a way to do something meaningful and helpful. I was inspired by a show of portraits for victims’ families after the shootings at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston.

My thought was that If I can get 49 artists each to do one portrait, as a collective we can make a gesture of empathy and love towards those who need it most. While it was important to me that a likeness was captured in the portraits, I also wanted each individual’s style to come through. Its one function of art to help people process painful things and find beauty in the most difficult moments. 

Now the project is in full force with 49 artists participating and help from The Center in Orlando in distributing the works to the families. It has been amazing to see how many people want to participate and how full of heart the portraits are as they come in.

Thank you for your interest in this project!

Facebook page:

Luis Daniel Conde
Luis Daniel Conde ran a salon with his partner of 16 years Juan Velaquez (The portrait posted just before this one). They were partners in business and in life and made all their clients feel beautiful and happy. They died together in the pulse shootings. Portrait by Lydia Walls Graves


Stanley Almodovar III
Stanley Almodovar III, was a pharmacy technician from central Florida who according to friends was very comfortable with himself and his sexuality. Under his profile picture he wrote: “Yes I wear makeup and I’m still a man about it tho.” Portrait by Kerry Jackson.


Angel Candelario Padro
Angel Candelario Padro was born in Puerto Rico. He was a member of the National Guard and was also a Zumba instructor to support himself while attending nursing school in Chicago. He moved to Orlando earlier this year. Humble and outgoing, a friend said ““Everybody that I know loved him the moment they met him.” Portrait by Donna Shiver


Check out all the portraits at Mia’s Facebook page and please share this article, as a collective we can make a gesture of empathy and love towards those who need it most.

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Written by Dario

My name is Dario, I’m 44 years young and I live in Croatia (at the moment). I’m not a writer, so please don’t expect any kind of up level stories or posts from me! 😉 I’m just trying to do my best to put a smile on everyone’s face whenever it’s possible.


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