Portrait Pebbles are small river stones that have had faces drawn onto them. The faces are of Holocaust victims.
Participants are given a pebble, a black marker and a photo of a victim’s face. They are given a brief introduction to the basics of portraiture, and invited to draw the victim's face onto the pebble. When finished, the stones can be placed anywhere in a classroom setting, as a small act of remembrance.
The purpose of Portrait Pebbles is not to create a ‘realistic’ or ‘true’ likeness of the victim. The finished product is sure to be imperfect. Rather, by spending time looking at victims' faces, participants might reflect upon who they were, and how they lived and died. They may also come to appreciate that these were real people like us, whose lives were brutally cut short.
Portrait Pebbles creates a memorial in the classroom as individual as the the victims themselves. By creating a one-on-one connection between students of today and the victims of the past, it is hoped that the memory of the deceased will not be forgotten. Indeed, the real memorial exists in the minds of those who 'do not forget.'
It is also hoped that Portrait Pebbles leads to further learning about the Holocaust and/or other genocides, which in turn highlights the importance of tolerance in today's world.
© 2023, Alexandra Karl