Newfoundland artists painting portraits of workers on the front lines of COVID-19

The concept originated in the UK and has been taken up by artists from across Newfoundland and Labrador, who are creating images of health workers and others whose labour is essential.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
August 06, 2020
Amber-Lynn Thorne and Nathaniel Muya. Photo: Zach Goudie/CBC.

Rebecca Cohoe is an artist from Newfoundland and Labrador who wanted to honour the people working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. She noticed the hashtag #PortraitsforNHSHeroes on Instagram, describing a project in the UK where artists would post on the social network if they were available to paint a portrait of a National Health Service worker. She loved the concept but adapted it to include both health care workers and people working in essential front line jobs, such as truck drivers, postal workers, and restaurant staff. The result is #FrontlineFacesNL.

So far, dozens of artists from Newfoundland and Labrador have taken part in the project and over 100 portraits have been completed, presented to their subjects, and uploaded to Instagram. Clicking the hashtag creates a sort of virtual exhibitions, allowing viewers to see all of the portraits that have been done to date. Participating artist Rodney Mercer says he feels a sense of connection to the postal worker whose portrait he created. Another artist, Amber-Lynn Thorne, recently got to meet her subject, Nathanial Muya, who works in a convenience store, when she visited to give him his portrait. Muya loved it, saying the picture was “the biggest reward I could get.”

Source: CBC News



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