We started banging pots and pans at 7 PM daily in early March to express support to the frontline and healthcare workers. Healthcare workers faced an enormous challenge during the early days of the pandemic with limited personal protective equipment and worked long hours. They became the rallying cry for the rest of society. It was an emotional time for all of us.

Having just come off a huge art project for the Chicago Temple, Jayashree had earned some well deserved rest and relaxation. Her “art” project for the temple consisted of painting about 40 works of the various deities and structures in the temple. These paintings were planned to be stored in a special room with the actual deities, while renovation (Samprokshanam) was in progress. The interesting aspect to this is that these paintings would actually host the deities (“avahanam”) during this time. Imagine that responsibility for the painting and its artist. As of this writing, the renovation work is still on pause due to COVID.

We celebrated her 50th birthday and then within a few days everything got shut down hard in Seattle. A few weeks after that, she casually painted her doctor cousins covered with PPE, caring for COVID patients.

In a way, Jayashree got immersed at a very deep level and heard many poignant stories from her subjects. I was grateful to hear many of those stories too that gave me a more meaningful perspective than just CFR/R0 and other data. We heard a heroic story from a friend. Her uncle, after treating dozens of COVID patients, finally succumbed. While being treated himself, he enquired and provided support to his patients. What a hero!

A Hero from Andhra Pradesh

Throughout, she got support from so many people. A Gofundme project to support making of over 30 portraits raised $1500 in a week. That was quite heartwarming. Art supply stores provided product at discount. Cheers and statements of support was so critical for her to keep going, significantly from fellow participants in the workshop. Her studio mate Rick Fichter and I made a lightbox to take pictures of all the paintings. Harish displayed his photography skills by taking pictures. Akshara, Samarjit and Malolan provided the finishing touches by mounting over 50 pictures on frames. As a finale, I was happy to install the portraits in Virginia Mason. Many more folks helped that I am certainly glossing over.

It’s glad to see her taking a well deserved break. Who knows what the next sprint is going to be?

Heroes from Jefferson Health in Philadelphia
Virginia Mason Heroes Exhibit

You can also visit her site www.jayashreekrishnan.com where she has chronicled this entire project of significant meaning.

Thanks for reading.