Portraits of Honour
A Kin Canada National Project
Portraits of Honour is national project by Kin Canada honouring those who have fallen in combat during the war in Afghanistan and, by extension, all past, present and future Canadian Armed Forces personnel. From its inception in February 2009 until its planned conclusion in the fall of 2011, the project will touch Canadians coast to coast through to the scheduled withdrawal of Canadian combat forces from Afghanistan, and beyond.
While the project's main focus is on all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, it also pays homage to those who carry on in the name of freedom everywhere - whether in combat or in fulfilling Canada's internationally respected peacekeeping role.
The project speaks to the very roots of this, the largest all-Canadian association of community service clubs of its kind. Kin Canada's connection to the military dates back to its origins in 1920, reaching a national crescendo during the Second World War. With many among the Kin family having served, and some fallen, in Afghanistan, Portraits of Honour is a logical expression of this continuing affinity for our troops and of the Association's intense national pride.
Portraits of Honour mural
The centrepiece of the project is the Portraits of Honour mural – an immense painting comprised of slightly larger than life-size portraits of every soldier who is killed duringt he war in Afghanistan. The mural is the commitment of one man to create something unique and lasting to honour the fallen.
The idea came to Kinsman Dave Sopha (Kinsmen Club of Preston, Ontario) in December 2008 when he was struck by the announcement of a sad milestone - the 100th Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan. In January, he brought the idea to Kin Canada's national headquarters, hoping to broaden the scope into a nationwide project that would demonstrate the passion that the entire Association has for this subject. In a matter of hours, the concept for this project began to take shape.
Since February 2009, Dave has been working tirelessly in a 2,600 square foot studio set up in the basement of Kin Canada to painstakingly research and recreate the likenesses of the fallen. With the help of his club mates, a 10' by 50' partition was built on which the canvass was mounted. It has since become his personal mission, with months of long daily effort invested so far.
An advance preview of the mural displaying the strikingly lifelike first 50 faces was shown to hundreds of delegates at the Kin National Convention in August, 2009. After bringing the room to tears, Dave received a standing ovation and the project garnered the strong support of Kin from across Canada.