[Extra]Ordinary Portraits competition and workshop

Spotlighting the extraordinary experiences of ‘ordinary people,' [Extra]Ordinary Portraits is a portrait project and competition open to anyone in the UK aged 25 and under. Alongside this the School is running a portrait workshop for ages 15–18, in partnership with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. 

Image: Portrait of Rosie Heilbrun, survivor of the Holocaust, by Gideon Summerfield

Portrait of Rosie Heilbrun, survivor of the Holocaust, by Gideon Summerfield

Create a portrait based on the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 - Ordinary People. 30 selected portraits will be displayed in an online gallery and showcased in the ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day 2023.

New resources and videos will be launched in September, so visit The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website to access those and find the submission page to enter the competition.

To enter the competition: 

1.    Choose a subject for your portrait following the guidance below. Some life stories are available on The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website at the bottom of the page, and more are available in their resources hub, or you can research someone else you are interested in or know.

2.    Learn about this person and their life experiences. What makes this ordinary person’s life extraordinary? How can you show this in a portrait?

3.    Create your portrait using a visual art form of your choice, such as photography, drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, graphic design or typography.

4.    Send in a picture of your portrait before 9 January 2023. The submission page will be available on their website from September 2022.

Who should I create a portrait of?
HMDT want to see portraits of people whose lives have been affected by any of the themes relating to Holocaust Memorial Day. This includes survivors of the Holocaust or other genocides, people affected by conflict and migration, or people who have been targeted because of their identity. You can read the life story of a Holocaust or genocide survivor on their website and create a portrait of them, or you can choose someone else. Maybe you already know someone from your local community who has a story like this to share. You must explain why you have chosen this person and how they relate to HMDT's work.

Watch tutor and Drawing Year alumna Rachel Mercer give her tips for getting started!

When is the competition deadline?
The competition ends on Monday 5 December 2022, submit your portrait by midnight on that day to be considered for the competition. However, you can still take part after this date by sharing a photo of your portrait online and using the hashtag #HMDextraordinaryportraits

Some suggested life stories: Lily EbertGad BeckMussa Uwitonze

As part of the competition, the School will be running a very special portrait workshop, open to anyone aged 15-18. Participants will meet Amouna Adam, a survivor of the genocide in Darfur. She came to the UK as a refugee and is now an activist, sharing her story and campaigning for justice.

After hearing her story students will learn techniques for drawing her portrait, and consider how to represent her experiences within a portrait.

Saturday 17th September 2022, 10am – 4pm

This workshop is free – Please book a place via our website.

 Amouna Adam

The workshop will be led by Royal Drawing School Faculty who will support students in exploring and experimenting with a range of materials and techniques investigating a variety of approaches to mark making. Students will also have the opportunity to draw from clothed models.

This workshop is part of the [Extra]Ordinary Portraits project – a partnership between Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and The Royal Drawing School, and participants are encouraged to enter their portraits into the competition. 

There are 20 places available and it is first-come, first-served. This workshop takes place at the Royal Drawing School in Shoreditch and all materials are provided.

Please note this workshop will be filmed and featured in the UK Commemorative Ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day in January. Participants will be asked to bring signed consent forms to be featured, or will need to let us know if they cannot be filmed or photographed.

In partnerhsip with 

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust logo