“The Madre Project,” a show of art created by children from Maine and Guatemala, is on display in the Jean Picker Room of the downtown Camden Public Library through Oct. 30. The public is invited to a free celebration fiesta Saturday, Oct. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Under the artistic direction of artist Antonia Munroe of Camden, 24 Guatemalan children who participated in the art program at Safe Passage (Camino Seguro) in Guatemala City and 21 children who attended the Madre Project workshop at the Art Circle in Camden have created stunning mixed-media portraits of their mothers.

The Madre Project collaboration was initiated by Munroe, who in 1993 founded the Art Circle summer art workshops for children. She has volunteered as an artist-in-residence with Safe Passage, a nonprofit organization based in Yarmouth, since 2005. The portraits and beautiful photographs of the Safe Passage residency, documented by photographer James Lawrence of Rockport, are the focus of this thought-provoking exhibit that will culminate in Guatemala City at the end of the year.

Safe Passage’s mission is to help make the dream of education a reality for the poverty-stricken children whose families work in the Guatemala City garbage dump. The Madre Project is based on exploring the concept of madre (mother) and giving children a unique opportunity to create a powerful statement as they explore through their art the question “Who is my mother?” In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Safe Passage, Munroe has taught several Madre workshops in Maine and helped organize traveling exhibits to libraries.

The Madre Project portraits take on the quality of icons and, when shown in conjunction with Lawrence’s brilliant photographs, make a stunning statement as pure art. One of the primary goals of the exhibit is to raise awareness about the mission of Safe Passage. Through the generosity of the families whose children attended the Madre workshop in Camden, the Art Circle was able to donate moer than $2000 to the Safe Passage art program. Munroe hopes to offer more such workshops in the future.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.