Emma: The New Face of Social Change in America, 2018
acrylic on panel
38 x 26
x 2 in
On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others. For Joan, whose life has been dedicated above all to non-violence, this tragedy cut to the core. She was moved by the student activists whose organization, "Never Again" galvanized the nation and inspired marches against gun violence across the world. She began work on a portrait of Emma Gonzalez, one of the student leaders. The portrait is a powerful one with Emma's direct gaze challenging a culture in which young people should not be afraid to show up for school. The gaze is fixed and courageous, but there is a slight tear in one eye. The portrait was entered in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. and was among the 100 semifinalists chosen from among 2,765 entries.