The Silhouette Project: Newcomers by Dona Laurita

“Directional Displacement” from The Silhouette Project: Newcomers, ©DONA LAURITA, 2023



Newcomers eloquently captures the resilience and humanity of young immigrants through powerful blacked-out portraits and narratives, offering a profound glimpse into their experiences and bringing an underrepresented community out of the shadows with transformative art.

May 10 – June 22, 2024



Art exhibit viewing times: Tues. – Fri. (11 am – 5 pm); Sat. (noon – 4 pm)

MAY 10 & MAY 11

Opening Reception
Friday, May 10 between 6:00 – 9:00 PM at CPAC. This event is free and open to the public. Artist Dona Laurita will be in attendance.

Out of the Shadows
Join us on Saturday, May 11, from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM, to hear from participants in The Silhouette Project: Newcomers. During this program with artist Dona Laurita, participants will share their often harrowing, and always moving stories of what brought them to the United States.


Newcomers is the fourth iteration of The Silhouette Project, a recurring photographic series that illuminates the voices of adolescent and young adult refugees who have been uprooted and relocated due to extraordinary circumstances. Newcomers are young people who have fled their homelands for various reasons, such as war or poverty, or out of valid fear for their physical safety. They have lost their sense of time and place, missing out on months or years of education, arts, sports, friendships, and many more things that make up a normal life. Despite the unimaginable situations they left behind, Newcomers aspire to return home someday to restore their communities and help those who were unable to leave. Until then, they are here, among us, a marginalized community, too often hidden from mainstream society, even as they strive and struggle to adapt to it. Artist Dona Laurita’s visual exposé reveals the diverse situations that led these Newcomers to the United States. Although their backgrounds are vastly different, their stories share common themes of struggle and perseverance. Laurita recognizes these newly placed shadow voices from everywhere but here. By photographing in silhouette, she provides her shy subjects with a refuge of anonymity, creating a safe space for these young transplants to share their stories, their fears, and their dreams. With “Newcomers: The Silhouette Project”, Laurita uniquely and respectfully visualizes and humanizes a segment of society who, due to circumstances far beyond their control, find themselves strangers in a strange land. Through her compassionate lens, she offers a voice to the voiceless.



Dona Laurita is a skilled photographer with over thirty years of experience in documentary work, fine art projects, and teaching residencies. She earned her BA from the University of Colorado and has since dedicated her work to art, community, and education. Dona is passionate about harnessing the power of photography to inspire and activate change. She previously owned and operated a community-driven space and has worked on projects that support marginalized populations.

Currently, Dona’s focus is onThe Silhouette Project,” which features stories of young refugee populations who are often under-served and vulnerable. Her unique backlit technique captures the essence of the subject while providing anonymity, making it safe for Newcomers to express themselves. Additionally, Dona’s multimedia presentation titled “The Thin Veil” is a collection of ethereal images exploring the emotions that often follow a shattering event such as the death of someone we love.

Dona believes in creating bridges between art and the community and has developed an outreach approach that uses workshops blending photography, visual art, creative writing, and storytelling. She has worked with countless youth in Colorado schools, hospitals, summer camps, and after-school programs, fostering experiential learning and encouraging students to express their intuition, imagination, and impressions through various media.

Dona’s extensive portfolio includes being the exclusive photographer during a Colorado visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and collaborating with Boulder Sister Cities on projects involving Lhasa, Tibet, and Jalapa, Nicaragua. She has exhibited her work across Colorado and has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant among other smaller awards.

Dona extends her impact through fine-art documentary work, serving as an artist-in-residence in schools, Creative Aging Programs, Children’s Hospital, the District Attorney’s Office Restitution Program, and other settings where her work can be most effective and beneficial. Her indomitable spirit is evident in her work as an artist and human.