A pandemic through the eyes of a Nurse and Artist

Canadian Council for the Arts

Despite the uncertainty, challenges, and exhaustion nurses have faced in light of COVID-19, nurses have a strong sense of comradery, strength, perseverance and even humor. I intend to capture their lived experience through art. I welcome you to my series on Canadian’s nurses’ pandemic journey.

Where it started...
Outreach Nurses

Being an Outreach Nurse in the Vancouver DTES, I saw the opportunity to create a series that gives voice to Canadian’s nurses’ pandemic experience. 

 

At the onset of the pandemic, I recall having unforgettable moments of fear, uncertainty, shock, and self-reflection. These moments became ingrained in my emotional memory as pieces of a time like no other. From there, I was inspired to capture moments like these that front line nurses felt.

Shortly after, I applied for an grant through Canada Council for the Arts and began chatting with nurses of varying backgrounds and experiences across Canada.  From there, I gather core themes, meaningful quotes, lived stories that foster this paintings series.

 

I am an emerging Vancouver artist, and I hope that this series not only reflects the lived experience of nurses, but also gives them a voice and expression that you, as the viewer, can better understand what they have endured for us, along with their compassion, their dedication, their comradery, and even their fears and exhaustion.

I hope this series creates the opportunity to pause, reflect and feel. 

This painting series is dedicated to the frontline Canadian healthcare workers 

who dedicate their life to supporting and helping others.

Your impact is immeasurable. 

 

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Canada Council for the Arts

This opportunity is made possible with the funding and support of the Canada Council for Arts.  I am in gratitude for their measures to support Canadian artists' pursuit to create, dream, innovate and thereby, fostering our Canadian cultural, historical thread.

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Completed Pieces 

Luke-warm coffee, 30x36_, 2021

"Luke-warm coffee," 2021

Oil on canvas, 30x36"

Summary: to be written

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"Stillness," 2021

Oil and pastel on canvas, 30x36"

Summary: to be written 

Future themes

For your curiosity, further themes related to collective and individual sacrifice, political movements that rose from the pandemic, and explore one of the most vulnerable groups multi-generational families. The paintings below are in process still, and are yet to be finalized. The series is expected to be completed and prepared for exhibition for early spring 2023. I will complete 7 large scale paintings, largest being 9x5ft of an ICU unit in Vancouver. Stay tuned for more paintings.  Follow the process IG: jcraig.va

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ECMO Unit in Toronto Inspired piece 36x60" in process

.A nurses role goes beyond just keeping patients alive, they are there to support, many nurse provide emotional support to clients and their families, assisting with live video communications when family cannot be there in person. 

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Student Nurse with her son in Pond Inlet, Nunavut inspired piece, 36x60" In process, to be collaboration piece with student nurse.

 

As the nurse described to me, Pond Inlet is filled with magic. The painting is meant to represent the change of seasons is as if it happens in a span of a day, the beauty of polar nights and polar days. We still have more to add. 

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 "Comradery", 40x30", oil on canvas, 2022

The onset of the pandemic, the uncertainty and fear within the healthcare system was at an all time high. Here we have two outreach nurse preparing to do their first COVID swab at the onset of the pandemic in the DTES, in poorly ventilated residences with sick clients. It was imperative to help those clients, despite ones personal fears. One nurse ties up the PPE for the other, tells them "we got this", the reassurance that comes from comradery, helps to share the weight of fears, and move forward to help others. 

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Filipino nurse, mother, multigenerational household

40x30", in final stages, no completed. 

A Filipino mother of three lives at home with her parents and husband. She represents many Canadian multigeneration homes whose impact of COVID was perhaps more apparent and impactful than single household homes.  Although she is at work, her heart and mind is at home with her family. She does her best to protect her family while supporting her clients and colleagues. The complexity of fear is deep, she goes to work despite the concerns of bring COVID home to her family, to her loved ones. I wanted to represent those Filipino nurses that dedicate their life to nursing and their multigenerational homes. Nurses represent one of the most diverse work fields, individuals from all walks of life, communities and ethnicities. 

Vancouver General Hospital ICU inspired, 

approx 4.5x8.5' ft, in process.

 

Two statue 

nurses are holding up the roof, representing

the efforts of nurses, and other healthcare

professionals, carrying the weight of the ever increasing healthcare demands, the increased

patient admissions, shortage of staff and beds. 

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