Blair Ely with Haitian children on her mission trip

Blair Ely with Haitian children on her mission trip

Mission Work Inspires Student Art

The artwork of Blair Ely, a senior at St. Cecilia Academy, is inspired by the mission work she does in Haiti. In a journal entry, Ely wrote about how the images she saw affected her.

“No picture or film can accurately depict nor prepare your mind for the sights you will see in Haiti. Endless piles of trash and human waste, crumbling buildings at every turn, and masses of people everywhere. Though scary at the start, the painful process of etching these images in my mind helped make me the person I am today.”

Amidst the devastation, Ely sees beautiful faces. Her portraits of Haitian children offer a paradox to the devastation. Ely’s art is drawn on old pieces of cardboard rescued from campus trash, using dry pastels to tell the stories of these young people.

“The background in Haiti is torn up, but the people, they are the things that really shine and make it overall something that is beautiful. They celebrate life even if it’s coming from a hard background,” Ely said.

Blair Ely, Vocal Arrest, 2013, Dry pastels on salvaged cardboard, 19” x 26”

The mission work Ely does in Haiti is a collaboration with twin sister, Brooke, and friend Emma Hall. The three developed a project called “Be Happy Haiti.” During spring break last year, they set up a dental clinic to serve over twenty schools in the area of LaVallée, Haiti. During winter break, they returned to expand the clinic’s services.

Emma, Brooke, and Blair have assumed all of the fundraising responsibility for the clinic. Their goal is to raise $150,000 in the next five years.

Ely was the recent recipient of the prestigious Silver Key award in the annual Scholastic Arts competition and also took second place in the Renaissance Center art competition.

For more information, visit www.stcecilia.edu.

Blair Ely, Les visages d’Haiti , 2013, Dry pastels on salvaged cardboard, 28” x 36”

Blair Ely, Les visages d’Haiti , 2013, Dry pastels on salvaged cardboard, 28” x 36”

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