Artist paints harmony

Photo by Ahmed Almarai

By Linda Barnett

Featured on the walls of the Harmony campus of Clackamas Community College is the “Existence” exhibit.

The artwork is by Kelila Henkin, an up-and-coming Portland artist who serves on the Cultural Arts Committee. She’s also a CCC student and founder and administrator of the CCC Student Art Club.

“Existence” is a series of acrylic and ceramic multimedia work.

“Each piece of my art goes on an ever-changing colorful journey with the use of found objects and built up layers of texture,” said Henkin. “My bright use of color is a reflection on my soul and personality. The found objects all have a special trip that they made to finally receive homage on my work.”

Henkin, who moved from California seven years ago, also has an internship at the CCC marketing department. She said she loves the college and being a part of the Portland art community.

“My goal is to be an art educator at a college level,” said Henkin. “The internship through the marketing department at CCC has proved me with a great chance to show how important making connections are and creating something with the help of other artists.”

Henkin calls herself a firm believer in arts and said, “I am working to get more visual art on campus.”

One way is through an upcoming event.

The Student Art Club is pairing up with the Theater Arts Club and music department to create all-inclusive event to showcase the art programs called the CCC Arts Festival. It will take place on June 8.

Henkin said that she has been impacted by art and believes in giving back. She has been assisting instructor Dave Andersen in his painting and drawing classes to help other students own their skill.

According to Henkin, the art is her story.

“It’s what I call the Crane Story,” said Henkin. “The truth really is, I’m lucky I was put where I am. I was handed a solid foundation with creativity and people to influence me.”

Nesreen Altawil, a student through the high school connect program, shared how she was impacted by the artist and her artwork.

I found her to be a beautiful human being,” said Altawil. “I like that the art is not perfect or neat. I also like how she used old photographs and how the octopus tentacles are holding onto those photographs as a reminder to never let go of memories.”

Henkin stated that her art took her on a journey.

“I had to learn to fail,” said Henkin. “I had to learn it was okay to make a mess and to let go of my fear of failure. Failure’s not an ending, it’s just part of the process on the journey. In art, it’s a great lesson I was grateful to learn.”

CCC staff are also enjoying the art exhibit, “Existence.”

Student services representative Vickie Zirkle said, “The show is very creative, visually interesting and pleasant. It appears to be very successful.”