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Emerald Rose Whipple’s Print Series Supporting UNICEF and Orange Babies

Emerald Rose Whipple Kilauea, Kauai
Emerald Rose Whipple. KILAUEA, KAUAI HI, 2014, printed 2020. limited edition 3-4 screen print on recycled paper, 11 3/8 x 17 inches. 

In 1995 Hillary Clinton, in her capacity as First Lady, declared: “Women’s rights are human rights” in her remarks for the fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Highlighting that the rights of women often are comprised around the world. Women and children are inextricably linked as it is usually women – mothers, aunties, grandmothers, or female community members – that take the most responsibility for child-rearing. When the female population is marginalized, children are worse off. Poverty, sickness, mismanagement, and inequity sometimes leave children vulnerable, at-risk, even without caregivers. The New York-based artist Emerald Rose Whipple has created her new print collections to support them.

Since November, Whipple has been promoting three open edition prints, two in collaboration with Orange Babies and one in collaboration with UNICEF, that launched on November 20th on World Children’s Day. The artist advocates that nurturing and caring for children of the world are the foundations of human progress and asks us to “remember our wealth of opportunities during childhood and to support those who start life with the odds severely stacked against them.”

Emerald Rose Whippe. JOHN SWIATEK & HANNE GABY ODIELE, BED 2013. Oil on Canvas 36 x 60 inches. Photograph courtesy of Galerie Jan Dhaese.

Whipple is best known for her series Eden, photorealist paintings of friends, many of them models or professionals from her previous career working in fashion. Romantic snapshots of street and domestic scenes were young women and men lounge, laugh, and convene. On journeys of self-discovery, introspective and care-free, challenging at times, often making eye contact with the camera, or viewer, as it were in the paintings. In stark contrast, there is an intangible depth present in her recent work. Something that she circles in her photo-realist works but has pinpointed and delved into far deeper in her explorations of natural forms: light, water, and vegetation. 

Emerald Rose Whipple. Venus. Limited edition print to benefit Orange Babies. 

Perhaps it is the prescient environmental threat that also helps bring weight to “Venus” and “Aether Sunset.” Whipple’s commentary on social media, popular culture, and nods to the fashion industry are affecting, but after being enclosed for nearly a year under the auspices of COVID-19, where scrolling social media platforms has replaced social contact, I long for nature and her profound renderings of it draw me in. Greta Thunberg who mobilized millions of children worldwide to advocate for sustainability and School Strike for Climate and Fridays for Future recently turned eighteen, entering into adulthood. She became an activist at the age of 15. Considering Thunberg and the youth she mobilized as members of our society who deserve respect, care, and nurture is vital. Whipple’s chosen subject matters, from coming-of-age to nature in service of children in need are both heartfelt and sincere. 

Whipple’s motivations to help children are also deeply rooted in her personal life – she was adopted as a child. In her eyes, orphaned children are the world’s most vulnerable group. Motivated by compassion and understanding Whipple has been involved in UNICEF USA for many years. She chooses UNICEF, an agency of the United Nations, for its advocacy for the rights of every child in the world and the organization’s global reach and has through her deep contacts with the agency collaborated with to reach the print. 

Tackling the HIV/Aids epidemic in African nations, Orange Babies Foundation provides mothers, children, and orphans affected by the disease access to medication, nutritional food, education, and psychological support. It is a holistic and sustainable approach. The EXHALE Print initiative arose in lieu of the artist traveling to Zambia. The trip was postponed because of COVID-19. It was important for Whipple to initiate her print works for charity when aid and support has been upended due to the pandemic. With a purchase of the $250 unsigned print, Orange Babies can provide 10 children with daily nutrition for one month. With a purchase of the $500 signed print Orange Babies can provide a class of children with daily nutrition, education, and Covid-19 protective equipment, like mouth masks and soap for two weeks.

Give back programs are becoming more and more popular, however, they are unusual for individual artists. For the purpose of longevity, Whipple will be donating 20% of the sale proceeds of her original work to support a series of rotating children’s humanitarian organizations. According to the artist, her choice of 20% parallels the world’s 20% most marginalized population in the most need. Thus allowing collectors to purchase her work with a good conscious.

“Painting is a form of peace in which I transform the suffering of my own human experience, as well as the suffering of the world into something of light. With it I remember that we are all connected,” Whipple says about her practice. Both series are based on photographs taken in her former home states, California and Hawaii, profoundly connecting her personal journey to the children her prints will benefit. The prints are an impactful gesture of service and community building when it is needed the most. 

Prints are available on the artist’s website, under the tab ‘Giving Back. ‘