Photos spread in ‘Hello’ magazine, 2008
Project Heroes began with a magazine spread in an airport in late 2008. Alberta artists Susan Abma and Shairl Honey were sitting in an airport on their way home from a portrait convention when they opened up ‘Hello’ magazine and saw the photo spread of 100 fallen soldiers who had died to date. They were struck by the loss of life and felt that painting their portraits was a way to give back. Recognizing the scale of this undertaking they asked fellow artist Cindy Revell to join them. Equally touched by the loss of these young lives Cindy agreed and the three artists began planning what would soon become Project Heroes®.
The Artists and Founders
The artists in the studio in 2011
Shairl Honey is an artistic adventurer who has painted her way around Canada, the US, and Europe. She has participated in numerous solo and group shows and her portraits, landscapes, and animal paintings are in collections throughout Canada, England, and France.
Susan Abma has painted corporate, government, and celebrity portraits. When possible she prefers to paint from life so she spends much of the winter doing still life paintings and during warmer months she spends more time outdoors doing landscape paintings. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group shows and is in government, corporate and private collections across Canada and in the U.S.
Cindy Revell is a full time award winning illustrator, Governor General nominee and contemporary oil painter. Her work is published throughout North America on billboards, wine bottles, packaging, public art, and in numerous books and magazines. Cindy’s oil paintings have been exhibited across Canada and the US and can be seen at Lando Gallery and Candler Gallery.
Alberta artists: Susan Abma, Cindy Revell and Shairl Honey
Project Heroes® was started to ensure the sacrifice made by Canada’s fallen soldiers is met with an acknowledgement that is significant, lasting and connects Canadians to the people who serve.
The vision morphed along the way to tell the bigger picture of war. Portraits painted from treasured family photos, soldiers’ stories based on family anecdotes and each soldiers’ online profile with their personal letters, photos and poetry help Canadians make a personal connection with the fallen. Soldiers’ photos of life on the base, on patrol and with the Afghan people provide a taste of a soldiers’ life while on tour. Wall sized paintings are a reminder of the wounded, PTSD, suicide, the families’ experience with loss, past wars and peacekeeping. These elements along with the history of Canada’s involvement in global conflict help paint a picture that provides a deeper insight to the impact of war and connects us in a personal way with those who sacrificed their lives.
The artists and those who assisted are all volunteers and consider this exhibit a labour of love and a gift to Canadians.