CHEK Upside: Island artist creates portraits of healthcare workers

CHEK Upside: Island artist creates portraits of healthcare workers
WatchShannon Holms has painted over 20 portraits of healthcare workers for free since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cole Sorenson has more.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shannon Holms was wondering how she could help frontline workers.

“We’ve got these health care workers that are sacrificing their efforts and their time and helping our friends and family,” says Holms. “I thought you know maybe I can paint their portraits.”

So Holms reached out to a family member who works in the ICU at Abbotsford Regional Hospital to see if any healthcare workers would be interested in the project.

“She started getting them to take pictures of them at work on their cell phones and I contacted every health authority,” says Holms. “They started coming in.”

There are now 26 completed portraits, with each piece uplifting both Holms and the healthcare workers featured.

“They’re just so happy . . . they felt so honoured to have their portraits painted and that someone was listening to their stories,” says Holms.

Most of the portraits are accompanied by an interview telling the pandemic story of each individual.

“They’re just quite astounding some of the things that these people have seen and done and how they’ve helped our community,” says Holms.

Now Holms’ work will be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the Gage Gallery, allowing the public its first in-person glance at the portraits.

“It’ll be nice for the heroes who have all been invited . . . to see themselves and to interact with other people if the provincial health orders allow us,” says Holms.

The exhibit runs Feb. 15 to Feb. 20. For more information visit Holms’ website.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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