Portrait of a Beautiful Young Lady

Artist Gabriel De La Mora



Dahana after surgery (above) and before,
as rendered by artist Gabriel De La Mora

The International Kids Fund (IKF), a program of Jackson Memorial Foundation, brought Dahana David to Holtz Children's Hospital from Haiti to remove a three pound benign facial tumor. Although it was benign, as the tumor grew it would have compressed the eyes, nose, and mouth and choked her. This life-saving surgery was performed by Dr. Jesus Gomez and the final phase of her reconstruction involved giving her a removable dental piece to replace her lost teeth. Three years after she came to Miami, Dahana is now a beautiful, confident young lady with a beguiling smile.

Mexican artist Gabriel De La Mora is an artist who has donated his art to the IKF Latin American Art Auction for the past three years. This auction is the biggest fundraiser for the organization. When he read about Dahana's plight, he contacted Max Berney, with Miami Art Project, the company that gets the donated art, and said he wanted to do a portrait of Dahana – but no ordinary portrait. De La Mora's medium is using both synthetic and real hair in his works. He requested pictures of Dahana before and after her surgery and, of course, samples of her hair.

Dahana was thrilled about the project and agreed to doing it immediately. Four inches of her hair was sent to De La Mora in Mexico City, his home-base, and what resulted were two spectacular portraits of the young lady. De La Mora used synthetic hair in the first picture to symbolize that fact that her transformation had not been started. He used her real hair in the second painting to emphasize the incredible results that had been achieved.

"The art piece I did is a picture in parallel of Dahana David," said De La Mora. "On the left side is the face of Dahana at 15 years, just before her operation; the portrait is made with synthetic hair of red color, since this image stopped existing. In the face on the right is Dahana at 18 after the surgery and three years of recovery and rehabilitation. It is elaborated with the hair of Dahana, where each line contains its energy and genetic information. It excites me to be able to donate my work to change lives of needy children all over the world. I titled the piece Hope, because it is a picture of reality, a tribute and a testimony."

When Dahana saw the images, she became teary eyed and said, "Oh my God. I can't believe that beautiful person is me. I feel so lucky to have been selected by IKF. It's truly a miracle. I have been blessed and I am so grateful that this picture will help other children who need help."

The International Kids Fund has scheduled the IKF Latin American Art Auction 2008 on October 14th, 2008. This is the signature fundraising event for the organization and will be held at the prestigious CIFO (Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation) Art Center at 1018 North Miami Avenue. Known in the art world as the "Collector's Auction," there is both a silent and live auction, as well as a "Collector's Corner" at the event. An array of hors d'oeuvres and cocktails will be served throughout the evening. Time: 7pm. Price: $75 per person before the event and $100 per person at the door.

For information on how to get involved or purchase tickets call Nicole Hernandez at 305-585-1137 or visit online at internationalkidsfund.org.