"As an obstetrician/gynecologist, I continue to work throughout the pandemic as women’s health care is essential. The worries and fears around pregnancy weighed heavier on patients and the medical team as everyone had questions about the mysterious and terrifying new pandemic. These questions and fears continue. But there is something incredibly life-affirming about bringing a baby into the world during a pandemic, even in these uncertain and isolated times. Even amidst the endless questions, the worries about our families’ health, and our limited knowledge of long term effects of COVID-19, welcoming these new members of the human race to the world is still joyful. I wish we had more supplies, more support, and more care for each other in our communities."
This project started with my sister-in-law, a doctor in the Intensive Care Unit at NYU Bellevue hospital. In April of 2020, as New York City experienced the full weight of the Covid-19 health crisis, my sister sent me a daily photo of herself. She worked for 6 days and 95 hours trying to save people from dying. The pictures were her way of saying, “I am still here; I am still alive.” Each picture was a portrait of fatigue, strength, bravery, hope and hopelessness all at once. I am not a doctor. I am on the other side of the country where the ICUs are not full and the dead are not being placed in refrigerated trucks outside of the hospital becasue the morgues are full. So what could I do? Each day the pictures arrived and each day the need built in me to do something. So I painted her portrait in grayscale, with quick and urgent brushstrokes. I created a series of portraits of my sister that captured her sacrifice and strength. And it’s still not enough. There are still wars being fought in our ICUs; there are still doctors summoning all of their training and skills who are still helpless in the face of this virus; there are still people dying.