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This article was published 5/9/2014 (1998 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A local artist had a hand in bringing a remarkable story to life in a new children’s book.
Artist Faye Hall will have 32 new paintings on display at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery (600 Shaftesbury Blvd.), starting Sept. 6 and they'll remain on display until Sept. 13. The paintings come from her collaboration with author Paul H. Boge on their forthcoming children’s book to support a Kenyan orphanage. The book, titled The Biggest Family in the World, is an illustrated version of the miraculous life of Dr. Charles Mulli, founder of the Mully Children’s Family in Kenya. The family-focused non-profit organization rescues African children from all at-risk situations.
The showing will also include many other portraits and abstracts from Hall’s collection which have been on display at the gallery since late June. Both Boge and Hall will be at the gallery on Sept. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. to give tours and share stories about the book.
Hall’s involvement with the organization comes from making real life connections with them a few years ago.
"The Mully Children’s Family visited my church back in 2011," Hall said. "I started doing portraits of them because I thought they were so beautiful."
It’s those portraits that moved and caught Mulli’s eye.
"One day in 2012 the author of Charles Mulli’s biography, Paul Boge, showed up at my door because he and Charles had decided to ask me to do this book as a result of those portraits I had done."
The emerging artist, who works in both oil and acrylic mediums, could hardly contain her enthusiasm and eagerness.
"I was on cloud nine. This was a dream project. In my heart I knew yes. There was no pay for this project, but some things, like this, are more important. It’s not about the pay."
Hall says the book has been in the making since 2012.
"For a year and a half I painted. I took extra time off from work, weekends mostly, and painted. I just completed this summer."
The artist says she took great inspiration from Mulli himself.
"He was a street child," Hall said. "He worked hard and became a millionaire and through divine intervention felt that he had to turn his life around and use his money to help out other street children."
It’s a story with humble beginnings.
"It started with him, his wife, their eight children and they started taking in children slowly."
Since then the number of children taken in has grown exponentially, and the Mully Children’s Family will be celebrating 25 successful years this year.
"They’ve taken in about 10,000 children so far," said Hall. "They gave them shelter, fed them, and educated them. They’ve also created self-sustaining farms and fisheries too. Mulli is a very innovative and creative man."
Hall hopes these stories will show through in her work to gallery viewers too.
"People seem to connect with my paintings and see the story behind it," said Hall. "I don’t paint to create something pretty to look at. I like to paint with stories and meanings behind the paintings and I feel the paintings really showcase that."