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Art To Affect Change: ArtPrize Artist Profile of Lynell Shooks

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Most artist have purpose to their works, for artist Lynell Shooks it is Awareness. Shooks has travelled with Worldwide Christian Schools setting up schools in third world countries. Her collection of six photographs depicts the lives of people within the slums of Kolkata and Chennai. Her street portraits are focused on showing the beauty of these people, focusing on smiles over bare feet, a young girls face over her tattered dress or a boys curiousity over the conditions that he lives in. Real people with real lives, lives very different from ours.

Shooks immediately turns the discussion of her work to her subject focusing on what can be done to make a change. She cites that the average income in these areas is less than a $1 a day and that the cost of an education is around $400 a year, an insurmountable sum. For most families in the slums they can only send one, if any, children to school and an education may be their only hope for escaping poverty. Shooks is trying to make people aware that they can make a lasting difference here and that it isn't hard to affect a change.

Shooks' sought out origionally just to photograph children, but as she says, " I saw so many beautiful people and so many beautiful things in the middle of abject poverty" She wanted people to see humanity instead of just poverty, to see that they are part of a community full of people. She sought to get a conversation started and show the beauty of the people, then to make the viewer look for the poverty to explain their stories.

If you are interested, come see her work at 45 Ottawa, visit Worldwide Christian Schools Website visit them on Facebook or join the conversation.

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Shooks stated that if she won she would use a large portion of her winnings to sponsor childrens' educations and would give money toward the $60,000 needed to finish rebuilding an orphanage.

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