Roseland Portrait Project Featured in Seerveld Gallery

Feb 04, 2022

For Professor of Art & Design John Bakker, art is a catalyst to build stronger communities. His Roseland Portrait Project, which was recently on display in the Seerveld Gallery, represents the most recent iteration of that philosophy.

The more than 200 panels in the project represent friends, neighbors, and co-workers from the Roseland neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Regardless of the way society defines a person’s status, Bakker’s goal is to demonstrate the unique value and dignity of each individual, the intersecting networks that they inhabit, and their contribution to the Roseland neighborhood’s rich social fabric. Taken together, the portraits represent a community in a state of imperfect order, with each member helping to support the whole.

During an artist lecture on Feb. 3, Bakker discussed his process and calling as an artist. As he told the audience, the portraits represent how  everyone is made in God’s image. After all, it takes as much time to paint a portrait of a Chicago alderman as it does to paint a portrait of an indigent resident in that alderman’s ward.  “It’s a metaphor for how God pays attention to each of us individuals,” Bakker said. “We are all equal, and we all matter.”

The project is one of several initiatives for which Trinity received a grant from the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), which connects the College to the Roseland neighborhood.

The Roseland Portrait Project will next travel to the CCCU International Forum in Dallas, from Feb. 11-13. The forum represents the largest gathering of Christian higher education community.

About the Seerveld Gallery

The Seerveld Gallery, located in Trinity’s Art & Communication Center, exhibits a cross section of work and viewpoints from across the art world. The gallery presents shows by professional artists each year, from internationally known artists to Chicago artists.