Welcome to the Facing Ourselves Project

The mission of Facing Ourselves is to examine the challenges, fears, opportunities, and hopes inherent in the worldwide migration phenomena by representing the commonalities of human nature and personal dignity. Through the portraits of Facing Ourselves, audiences focus on humane communities, and see themselves in the “other.”

It began with a series of portraits in Italy and the UK of immigrants, refugees and locals. It continued with a large-scale installation of the portraits in the city of Martignano. Now, Facing Ourselves is an on-going collection of community projects to continue to drive the conversation of merging cultures and humane communities.

“As we move into more and more challenging times with worldwide migration at the forefront, we need to focus time and attention on merging cultures and how to create sustainable and humane communities for the future.”

— Patricia Clarke, FOUNDER

  1. The Portraits

Through the portraits of Facing Ourselves, audiences focus on living in and creating humane and diverse communities, seeing themselves in the “other.” To date, the Project has expanded to include communities in the United States and Europe and hopes to expand further. Subjects include residents and recent arrivals whose countries of origin include: Cameroon, Canada, Egypt, England, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Holland, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ivory Coast, Mexico, the United States, and Wales.

See the first portrait project →

2. The Installation


In 2017 a small group of Santa Barbara California volunteers raised funds to exhibit the first series of portraits in Martignano, Italy in 2018. Locals saw themselves in a visually impactful manner, engendering a sense of pride for their efforts in integrating their community. The large-scale exhibition culminated in a “community conversation” in the 15th c. palazzo. Residents of all ages and ethnicities gathered to discuss what it means to create a happy, healthy, and functional community.

Explore the first installation in Martignano, Italy →

3. Community Projects

As Facing Ourselves develops over time and place, more and more people are finding ways to express their feelings about creating compassionate communities. See a sampling of community events that have occurred or are scheduled to be a part of the Facing Ourselves Project.

See all the community projects →