Prayers for the Pandemic; Prayers for Progress VOLUME TWO: AUGUST 2020
victory hall press
PRAYERS FOR THE PANDEMIC; PRAYERS FOR PROGRESS DRAWING ROOMS, JERSEY CITY, NJ VOLUME TWO: August 2020
Prayers for the Pandemic; Prayers for Progress is our ongoing public art project happening across the United States. The concept draws inspiration from Tibetan prayer flags made of colorful rectangular cloth that are strung along trails and peaks high in the Himalayas, and used to bless the surrounding area in which they are placed. This project was launched as a response to the current environment. In March 2020, the coronavirus began to shut down the country. Frontline healthcare workers have been doing amazing heroic work and essential workers are keeping the current state of our society going. Since the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day, people of all races, all over the world, are raising their voices in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, fighting against racial injustice and inequality. While we are all living through the coronavirus pandemic, as well as fighting to be heard, seen, live without fear and working toward positive social change, blessings are beneficial. We want to send positive Karma out into the world, and brighten each otherâ€™s days in the special way that art can do. In this, our second collection, we continue to receive images and stories from artists in the NY/NJ area, as well as across the country. Many artists made and hung their flags in the place they were quarantining, which is not necessarily where they live. Hereâ€™s some of the flags we received that you will see in the following pages:
A set of Jersey City flags used only colored paper and scotch tape to create a burst of light. Crocheted flowers hang from windows and a rooftop in Bayonne, NJ. A flag with Korean lettering made of fabric from the artist’s father’s office shirts hangs on an Alabama front porch. Relief prints of a snake on a staff, and black and red crosses, are posted on fencing in a field in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Ethereal painted silk flags floating over a waterway in western Massachusetts. A cut, collaged paper flag covers a fire escape in Brooklyn. The rising sun flies from the balcony of a house in West Virginia. A calligraphic message of hope is spread across library windows in Croton-onHudson, NY. The artists’ stories and messages shared with us to us are vital to the project as well. One artist tells of her personal experience with the virus, another cared for her mother, and one artist gathered a dozen friends to create a collaborative project. The sense of community becomes realized and visible. It is our hope that this project, currently an online exhibit, will become the show that reopens our gallery when restrictions are lifted. In Good Health, Art and Prosperity,
Anne Trauben, Exhibition Director, Curator James Pustorino, Executive Director
On the Cover: Photograph by Donna Bassin The small cylindrical cone-shaped objects are called Tsa-tsa and made of clay and ash. They are sacred objects. They are usually created by a Tibetan monk commissioned by a family to memorialize a deceased loved one. One can see them under rock overpasses and alongside roadways where they are sheltered from the elements and in the presence of prayer flags. Tsa-tsa can be seen as tiny stupas referring to Buddha, and like prayer flags, serve to mitigate obstacles to a more peaceful life.
Alpana Mittal â€œTejaswiniâ€? Bayonne, NJ
When I saw the image in the call, I went back in memories 20 years ago. I visited Bhutan in the years 1999 and 2000. It was a mesmerizing experience. The feeling in that environment was divine. I can imagine if we have those flags around the world, maybe the world would have those same vibrations. This is the least we can do for world peace. I feel blessed to be a part of this project. I created praying hands with the beadwork, which I usually do, as my background. I hung them in front of my house and in the backyard so that with the cool breeze, healing vibrations would also flow around the environment. I installed my piece in the front of my house and on the back yard fence! People who pass through our home look at these pieces with curiosity. My neighbors were asking what it is, and when I explained, they were happy about the idea and wished me well.
Alpana Mittal “Tejaswini” Healing Vibes, photographed bead art 5
Anne Dushanko Dobek New Providence, NJ
My piece, “Perilous Journeys”, references both the physical journeys migrants and immigrants make in search of sanctuary and safety, as well as the interior emotional passages we are all traversing during these difficult times. The salvaged fabrics of the vertical bands refer to the hopes that empower so many people. The transparency of the middle band is more nuanced, its layers revealing multiple images. Repurposed butterfly images have been salvaged from earlier outdoor “Parallel Migrations” installations: a bit tattered but still resilient. Like much of my work, the Prayers for the Pandemic flags are multi-referential in their sources and allusions. The layering is both physical and conceptual, allowing the viewer to project meanings drawn from their own experiences. After several thwarted attempts, I did a temporary install on a chicken coop at Hillview Farms. The location alludes to the many immigrants who work in the Tyson Poultry Processing Plants. I then decided to attach my piece to the dashboard of my car where it can be seen 24/7 wherever the car is parked. The debut was in a line for Covid 19 testing at Kean University. The feedback has been positive. I’ve had curious and inviting conversations on the origin of the flag idea and the disjoint between the uniqueness of the materials and the symbolic allusion to the plight of those migrating and working in our food production.
Anne Dushanko Dobek, Perilous Journeys, mixed media
Anne Dushanko Dobek, Perilous Journeys, mixed media 8
Anne Dushanko Dobek, Perilous Journeys, mixed media 9
Barbara Lubliner New York, NY I love this project! My flags embody the idea of transformation as they are made of re-purposed castoffs. My flags are made of upcycled plastic slide sleeve pages, various paper scraps, and paint chips. In the Buddhist tradition, each flag is a different color representing the basic elements: yellow--earth, green--water, red--fire, white--air, blue--space. Each flag is a mosaic of different sources of its basic color. Making them is a process of seeking balance. As I make the flags, I imbue them with positive feelings, healing myself and wishing good will out into the world. I see them hanging like wind chimes or sun catchers brightening an area and gently releasing good vibrations for positive transformation. I hung two sets of â€œGood Will Wishersâ€? on the Upper West Side of New York City, on either side of the intersection of 95th Street and West End Avenue, which is closed to car traffic now to give more space for pedestrians to spread out. Seeing the flags flap and wave in the breeze felt like it was working. They were at street level with resilient New Yorkers who were walking, talking, biking and some even sitting on beach chairs. Several curious people asked what I was doing which gave me a chance to talk about transformation and good will and hope for silver linings. I explained that they were part of a global art project. I love that artists all over the world are making work for this project!
Barbara Lubliner, Good Will Wishers, plastic, paper
Beatrice M Mady Jersey City, NJ Prayer flags are used traditionally to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. In this most unprecedented time, I was drawn to this call as it offered me a way to express my personal message of thanks and gratitude to all of those people who have selflessly put their lives on the line to help humanity. I hope these words and thoughts will be cast out into the world and benefit us all with good karma. I also hope that our bad karma, all of our fears and anxieties, will be brought back into balance with the harmony of the universe. Unlike cloth used in the traditional pray flags, I used paper, a material I am much more familiar with. Both materials are non-permanent and will eventually be brought back to the earth. I wanted to include all 5 of the traditional elements. I chose to use blue, red and yellow bases for the words and images. These colors are symbolic of sky, fire and earth respectively. I included miniature watercolors for the water element and the white cord to represent the element of air as it suspends and brings all the parts together. The words are written by hand with a gold gel pen. This is symbolic of the importance of the messages that are both words of thanks and pleas for help. As the prayer flag is hung in my yard, it has been seen by me and the forces of the Universe. This is a space of quiet contemplation, although under different circumstances I like to share it with and the company of others. Like all art these days, people will see this work remotely and in a virtual world. I hope that these flags are uplifting for our collective spirit. Thank you for mounting this work and helping us spread positive energy out into the Universe in this challenging time.
Beatrice M Mady, Stop Counting, mixed media 13
Beatrice M Mady, Stop Counting, mixed media
Bill Stamos Jersey City, NJ Early on, I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief for the sick, the suffering, and the dead. I felt like a helpless bystander, being told the best thing I could do was to stay home, keep my distance, shelter in place... The call to participate in this project was an opportunity for me to create something positive in response to such a terrible situation. I call my pieces “Energy Focus Flags”. Materials used are scotch tape and paper. The process was simple: one strip of tape at a time, laid on the paper, from one edge to the other, intersecting at a focal point. As each additional strip of tape is added, the focal (focus) point becomes brighter and more luminous, resulting in a radiant starburst of energy. The process itself was meditative and soothing. My hope is that the finished pieces will be meditated upon, and send calming, positive energy out to the universe. Flags were placed on the iron handrail in front of my apartment, facing the sidewalk. Because of their fragility (paper), I only put them out during nice weather (no rain or strong winds). I may try to have them laminated at some point. Unfortunately, my sidewalk is not heavily trafficked so I’ve gotten very little feedback. On one occasion, while I was sitting on the stoop, a couple stopped and stared for a bit. I introduced myself and explained the project, and my intent with the pieces. They thanked me, and said they would check out the Drawing Rooms website. Another time, I looked out of my third-floor window and saw a young man taking pictures of the installation; I didn’t have a chance to meet him. I’ve shared photos of the pieces with friends and family. They all seemed enthusiastic about the work and the project. Despite the lack of feedback so far, I believe that the very act of creating and displaying them adds to the good in the world. I’m glad to be a participant– it is a wonderful concept, full of thoughtful and beautiful work. Looking forward to better days ahead, when maybe we can see the exhibit on display... with no masks or social distancing required!
Bill Stamos, Energy Focus, tape, paper 17
Carol Diamond NYC
The Gallery open call inspired me as a way to use art for positive karma in this crisis. I gathered some brightly colored papers I had in my studio. One was a small book of handmade “Le the des ecrivains”, and a large stack of hardware store paint sample chips I collect for my graphic design color theory class. These are not my usual art materials, but I felt they were perfect for this project. Using cut and paste, I created shapes and color patterns to bring positive healing and joy to others. I hung my piece on my fire escape for my neighbors, and also on a tree in Riverside Park– both in Manhattan, and really felt good sharing the piece this way. When it hung in Riverside Park, I wanted it to hang anonymously. Many people walked by and looked. When it hung on my fire escape, I’m sure it was seen, but I was inside. I enjoyed imagining the perhaps curious minds and smiles of those who noticed it. We bang our cans and yell at 7pm, and hope people hear us from the front line workers. Since my piece is made of paper, though well-glued, I haven’t left it overnight and was waiting for the show to happen. I will hang it again on my fire escape and hope passersby will have a joyful response. I’ve shown the piece to family and art friends and they have really enjoyed it. I sometimes feel the futility of making art because there are great social inequities in the world– especially now with stay at home orders and so much suffering around us. I like this project because it is not didactic, but more spiritual, using color and community to engender positive energy and a positive healing message.
Carol Diamond, Prayer Flag Fire Escape, colored paper
Carol Diamond, Prayer Flag Riverside Park tree, colored paper
Carol Diamond, Prayer Flag Riverside Park tree, colored paper
Carole Loeffler Philadelphia, PA
I’ve been creating work that is installed (and left) outside for passersby in my Philadelphia neighborhood. The works I submitted for this exhibition are installed in my front yard. There are three works: One flag is in my beloved dogwood tree and it says “be kind”. Another flag is a framed felt board that says “it isn’t over”. The 3rd flag is another “be kind” message on a vintage kitchen towel. I think we can all use reminders to be kind at all times. The “it isn’t over” was a reaction to the restrictions being loosened for our area. The virus isn’t over, don’t stop being safe and taking precautions. It also is meant to have a double meaning. “It isn’t over” is also about not giving up - it isn’t over...keep trying. I have not gotten feedback yet, other than comments on my social media pages.
Carole Loeffler, Be Kind Banner, fiber 23
Carole Loeffler, Be Kind, fiber 24
Carole Loeffler, It isnâ€™t Over, fiber 25
Charlotte Kreutz Jersey City, NJ
I’m not what “they” call a fine artist, but I am a proud creative crafts person. Fabric is my medium and this was a way to put my thoughts and feelings in a public place to make people smile. I feel almost guilty about the pleasure it has given me to make much needed masks for so many people, including nurses, homeless families, indigenous people on the reservations/tribal lands in Arizona. How wonderful to have purpose in such in such a time of stress and loss. Using the same mask fabrics to make these prayer flags has been pure joy. So glad a friend sent me the link! I placed my flags between our first floor windows on the brick facade at 141 Grand St. In Jersey City, NJ I leaned out the windows of the room where I made the flags. I suspended them on heavy duty sewing thread. The construction guys next door liked them and were a little moved by the reason they exist!
Charlotte Kreutz, Blowing in the Wind, fabric 27
Charlotte Kreutz, Blowing in the Wind, fabric
Charlotte Kreutz, Blowing in the Wind, fabric
Cheryl Gross Jersey City, NJ
This is a very important project. I feel that there is so much going on, so much to say, so much to adjust in our lives. What better way to say it other than through art? The “circus monkey no longer employed due to circumstance” imagery is a play on the fact that so many people have lost their jobs. Everyone has been affected by the pandemic– from the smallest to the most successful, hence the name “Furlough”. The expression on the monkey’s face exhibits the way we all are feeling. I used ballpoint, graphite, water color, gauche, acrylic, color pencil on paper to make the piece which is installed at Berry Lane Park, across the street from my house. The park was fairly empty but some people did stop to look. Other than a thumbs up, I didn’t get any other feedback.
Cheryl Gross, Furlough, mixed media on paper
Eileen Ferara Jersey City, NJ
I love everything about this project that asks us to put our talents as artists to use with the intention to inspire at a time of crises. Artists have expressed many different reactions to a shared experience. Small acts of public art on a global scale are wonderful. My flags are created from fiber remnants. Burlap, linen, and denim, combined with portions of cut up prints and canvas are hand stitched with yarn. The hand images are inspired by mudras. For me, these gestures have multiple meanings; to pray, to honor, to offer, to cherish and to feel grateful. My intention is to convey this message, through a patchwork of imperfect beauty. My flags are somewhat nomadic. Like many of us, they have been wandering about the confines of the home– the stoop entrance, the hook on the back of the closet door, back of the couch, the tree in front of the house… Currently they are nestled beneath the entrance to my doorway. It was important to me to find a location where they could be seen, so the ‘prayer’ can be received, even if they will only be seen by our delivery people. I got a few positive comments when I was experimenting with a place for these while wrapping a tree. I just found a place where I think they can be left up! The tree, and across the stoop entrance were not going to work as semi-permanent locations.
Eileen Ferara, Appreciation and Offering Flags, mixed media.
Eileen Hoffman Brooklyn, NY
I had already begun to think about the ways public art could make a difference during this time, so I was immediately excited about this project. I appreciate that it sends a positive message to people, and brings us together during this time of isolation. “The Stories Will be Told”, is placed on the fence overlooking the ball fields in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Each year the fields, which are usually filled with baseball, flag football, and soccer, are closed during the winter to reseed the grass. Because of the virus, they were not opened this year and remain empty. My son is an aspiring college baseball player, so I am particularly sensitive to the interruption the pandemic has brought to athletes’ lives. I want to send prayers to all the athletes who have had their dreams interrupted this year. I see this as a metaphor for all of us who have had our lives put on hold. I want us to remember our significance and appreciate all the ways we have not let the pandemic stop us. We continue to find ways to live, work and grow. The prayer flag patterns are painted on clear dura-Lar with acrylic paint. The writing is taken from current newspaper headlines. I want the delicacy, transparency and vibrancy of the painting to reflect the breadth of our experiences and to send out messages of strength and hope. It was wonderful to install it. The park is very strict about what can be displayed, so I was not able to leave it there unattended. I spent the day setting it up and talking with people. I have a video of someone dancing throughout the piece. I have also gotten great feedback from people who have seen it via social media. I am very appreciative for the opportunity to create this piece during this stressful time, when it isn’t always easy to feel creative.
Eileen Hoffman, The Stories Will be Told, paint on dura-lar 35
Eileen Hoffman, The Stories Will be Told, paint on dura-lar 36
Eileen Hoffman, The Stories Will be Told, paint on dura-lar 37
Eugenio Espinosa and Friends Jersey City, NJ I wanted to participate in this project for the opportunity to reflect creatively on the perfect storm of pandemic, social uprising, and climate change that we are living in now. My main interest was to do a collaborative piece as a antidote to isolation and to have artists react to my statement of intent about the power of acting together in response to the times we are living in however they saw fit: “For many reasons the inequities and abuses that our society has thoughtlessly stood upon are more visible to more people around the world. We are in an historical moment with seismic opportunities for eliminating oppressions, if we can help each other think and act. And ironically, as we do social distancing, this is the time to come together like never before. My design is simple - just a string of paper masks linked together. Each mask provides a format for text and/or visual image. I will print and cut out each mask on metallic foil cardstock paper in one of 6 colors and join it into a chain. Think of it as a kind of Cadavre Exquis or a quilt. The most important part for me is to join with you and others in creating something together.” Eleven artists responded with a range of images from traditional Tibetan design to abstraction and photography with and without text. My own three mask designs are two of Giotto’s grieving angels and the word “esperanza” in my late aunt’s handwriting in correspondence from Cuba. I have heard from artists who have posted their images on Instagram and Facebook that they have been well received, as have been my own postings of the piece in social media. The collaboration has also fortuitously given me more opportunity to talk with my neighbor from Tibet and to invite his brother to participate. 38
Mauro Altamura Marina Gutierrez Marina Gutierrez Charles Yuen Emily Barnett Emily Barnett Eileen Hoffman Manuel Macarrulla Manuel Macarrulla Eugenio Espinosa Giotto di Bondonne Giotto di Bondonne Tsang Jigmi Gurung Geanna Merola Geanna Merola Eileen MacAvery Kane Collette Fournier
Nancy Cohen Judith Page Nancy Cohen Colaboracion de Caretas
Geanna Merola (Psychic) , Manuel Macarrulla, Marina Gutierrez (Snow White)
Mauro Altamura and Charles Yuen
Geanna Merola and Manuel Macarrulla
Nancy Cohen I was also interested in the idea of a range of images being projected onto masks. For me that joined together many parts of the ephemerality of this time. I sent Eugenio images of several sculptures that I have been working on during the pandemic. They are delicate glass winged like abstract forms. To me they are a stand in for the fragility of our lives, especially now. Emily Barnett Eugenio created a template of a face mask on which each contributing artist would place an image that offered a sense of healing. Several of these would be strung together in similar fashion to Tibetan prayer flags. The concept also reminds me of connected cut out paper dolls or holiday ornaments strung together in a line. I thought Eugenioâ€™s concept was brilliant. There is an underlying, seeming simplicity that at the same time opens the piece up to individual interpretations. It is the essence of collaboration. It allows us to use our art to create a positive response to two challenges we face - the pandemic, exacerbated by the lack of an iota of civilized response by Trump, and how to effect change in the pervasive racial and economic injustice in our country. Manuel Alejandro Macarrulla The impulse is healing; the presentation of serenity and humor through animal imagery. Eileen MacAvery Kane The pandemic and protests are so visceral and sad, there is nothing more important to our lives at this moment in time than to offer prayers and whatever actions of activism each of us is able to take. I drew a smile because that is one of the first things in how we usually connect with each other and I miss it so much. I incorporated song lyrics from Crosby Stills Nash and Young from Wooden ships that I thought were very relevant to the times we find ourselves in.
Judith Page (Therapy Wall)
Nancy Cohen and Emily Barnett
Marina Gutierrez Mask 1 -- Apocalypse 45 / re-purposes images from an existing drawing (completed long before the age of covid emerged) into a pandemic mask. Trump astride a rocking horse is the 4th horseman of the apocalypse, harbingers of Death, Famine, War and Pestilence. It’s a roll of the dice whether one lives or dies. Media: graphite drawing, watercolor & gold leaf on paper Mask 2 -- Snow White / The serene retro ideal of female beauty is surrounded by outlines of Black Lives Matter protestors and police as the fantasies of whiteness are deconstructed in the streets. Media: graphite drawing, watercolor on tone washed paper. I’m grateful this project is gaining a life beyond our postings and distanced collaborations. I’d love it to be translated into video documentation with artists in conversation and the comments of passersby. Tsang Jhimi Gurung I feel that my art is unique and I wanted to keep the ancient Tibetan culture art alive. I drew an ancient Tibetan Dragon. I drew this piece because this specific animal plays a big role in the development of the Tibetan culture and Buddhism and I think that this piece will intrigue viewers to learn more about the culture. Eileen Hoffman I was already familiar with the Prayers for the Pandemic project and saw it as a way public art could contribute positively to this challenging time. I appreciated the collaborative approach of Eugenio Espinosa’s piece and wanted to be part of it.
Marina Gutierrez, Giotto, Tsang Jhimi Gurung
Harriet Finck Montclair, NJ
Group longing is very powerful, as is - belonging. I have been doing a series of quarantine drawings, ink on paper, since early March. This one has a mandala theme, which is appropriate for the exhibit. I plan to print it, and introduce color; the colored version(s) will hang in my window. I live on a street with many passers by.
Harriet Finck, Mandala, ink on paper
Janette Aiello Croton On Hudson I believe art can change the world, and finally, here is an opportunity to submit to a show that also supports that idea. My work has always had the higher purpose at its core, and as a teacher, my message to my students was always, “your art is your voice, and you should try to use it to save the world”. I am sending a message through color and drawing. The colors are inspired by the peaceful blues and greens of our earth, with intervals of warm color representing life. The calligraphic writing of 4 words: Peace, Health, Justice and Community, interlace to show the interdependence of each one on its neighbor. The separation of the continuous design jogs the writing out of alignment in order to establish that work is needed to realign our sensibilities and put the pieces of the puzzle back together again. I arranged to hang my flags in several places– first, my studio, which faces the road, and then I got permission to display it on the front doors of my covid-shuttered church, Briarcliff. Congregational Church, (right under the Pride banner). That door faces a very busy road. Finally I placed the flags in our recently opened public library, The Hendrick Hudson Free Library, in Montrose, NY, where they are installed for the summer above the water fountain by the reading rooms and cafe. The picture of this installation was very plain, but the location is central. It’s a great space to deliver prayers in a pandemic. Most people were excited and very welcoming. The library would like to keep the flags up until they are needed elsewhere. The church would like to find a permanent place to install them, once we reopen. The meaning of redemption is layered and subjective, but the imagery of the prayer flag addresses, in scope and intention, the focus of this art theme. Sending prayers out on the airwaves is a positive intervention that art is singularly equipped to perform. Thank you for this opportunity. 48
Jan Aiello, Prayer Flags: Church Installation, acrylic and graphite on rice paper
Jan Aiello, Prayer Flags: Library Installation, acrylic and graphite on rice paper
Jenna Lash New York, NY
I believe that a universal prayer during this time is essential for us to survive. My piece is an interpretation of the Tibetan 1 Srang Silver Coin, completed with watercolor pencils and watercolor paint on Strathmore paper, 19â€? x 24â€?. The use of the Tibetan coin seemed appropriate to me because the Tibetans are a spiritually attuned culture that I think connects with people everywhere. I hung the flag in my New York City windows for all to see. The installation was fairly simple, but took a little adjusting to decide what was the distance between the flag strips and the curvature of the twine from which they hung. I have received positive feedback so far. Thank you for this opportunity to creatively express a universal prayer.
Jenna Lash, Tibetan 1 Srang Silver Coin, watercolor on paper
Jill Scipione Bayonne, NJ
Our little block in Bayonne, NJ has been especially hard hit, and I wanted to take the spirit of the prayer flag and make a small happy thing as a momentary bit of brightness for anyone who might pass by and look up. I think of prayer flags as visual/physical forms of community prayer– in much the same way as the ringing of bells, lighting of candles or use of incense in Catholicism. It is a way of praying without having to articulate a prayer or perfect thoughts/petitions into words– or even to resolve doubts/faith. The sensory object, the colorful flag flapping in the wind is a prayer each time it flaps. The flag encompasses the anonymous maker, the hanger, heaven and the person who looks up, and it joins them all. Lilies of the Valley are some of the first flowers of spring. They happen to be the flower of May and they have an extraordinarily delicate flower, but are hardy and resilient. The flowers are crocheted and the color of the yarn itself makes me (and hopefully others) happy. I have seen people from my window pass by on the sidewalk and they have looked up. I know they have been noticed. I love looking at the other artists’ works and seeing where they are living and imagining the communities that surround them.
Jill Scipione, Lilies of the Valley and Hearts, crocheted yarn 55
Jill Scipione, Lilies of the Valley and Hearts, crocheted yarn 56
Jill Scipione, Lilies of the Valley and Hearts, crocheted yarn 57
Joan Crawford Elkins, WV
I was told about this project by a friend and liked the idea. The rising sun is a symbol of hope. It is made of flag fabric and hung at an art gallery on the main street in Davis, WV. My intention was to spread good will and create an upbeat reaction in these hard times. Friends helped me hang it and it was a positive experience. People like it every much, especially when they know it is a prayer flag. Spreading good will is essential in this time of uncertainty.
Joan Crawford, Rising Sun 59
Julie Lee Helena, AL
This project interested me because of its mission on social justice and the well-being of humankind. I wanted to send the message that no one is alone and that they matter, they deserve the gift of self-care. This banner is made from cloth that was given to me by my parents when they sent me off to summer art school. The inspiration of the colors (white, pink, blue, and purple) were rooted from my identity. These colors are those of my parents’ legacy. The blue fabric are the remains of my father’s office shirts. The text is Korean for the sentiment of “please take care of yourself.” I made this banner, thinking about how one may remember and honor their origins and roots and also gain autonomy over their sense of self. The banner was installed on my front porch, where neighbors outside who are taking walks or driving by can see it. It felt vulnerable for me to install the piece, especially as one of the few POC neighbors in the neighborhood. The piece has received some honks and has gained the attention of those who walked by.
Julie Lee, Please Take Care of Yourself Banner, fabric
Julie Lee, Please Take Care of Yourself Banner, fabric
Julie Lee, Please Take Care of Yourself Banner, fabric
Katherine Chudy Las Cruces, NM
I am a disabled, practicing Mahayana Buddhist and printmaker/multimedia artist completing the last year of my MFA during the pandemic, so this historical event has greatly affected every single aspect of my life. I was already working on my project when I saw this one, and wanted to add my energy to something bigger than myself. The piece includes four images that are printed in varying colors and are overlapped sometimes on top of one another. There is an elongated cross that alludes to the religious imagery and sacrifices of the Christian cross; the cross is made of interlocked hands symbolizing the communal effort necessary to make it through this, and the Caduceus with an injured wing is for our crippled medical system struggling to stay on top of the virus. The colors are all symbolic as wellâ€“ white for a kind of temporary surrender while we wait things out, the red and grey of the coronavirus images that have become so familiar, and the institutional blues and greys of medical gowns that we are all trying to avoid. I put my flags in my backyard, which faces two of my neighbors, a street, and a senior community center. My neighbors love them and I have seen a few people stop to take pictures of them. I want to get some stronger string (the wind here is very strong) and move half of them to some of the other sides of the fence so more people can see them. I am going to leave them up until the pandemic is over and then make a quilt out of their remains.
Katherine Chudy, Until Itâ€™s Over, relief on cotton and felt
Katherine Chudy, Together or Not at All, relief on cotton
Katherine Chudy, Injured Support Pair, relief on cotton
Kathy Levine Brooklyn, NY
I wanted to do something that was connecting to what was happening in the world with the pandemic which would be uplifting and give people who so need it, a feeling of hope. I used images of leaves with hands and figures to show that we are interconnected and that all living things have the ability to reach out and affect the area around them in a beneficial way. The imagery is from pieces of art that I have made, and I used the water-based photo-transfer process to attach them to the flags. I hung the flags from the porch in front of our house. Itâ€™s a fairly busy street so I thought people would see it. Many people have commented about the flags and said that they enjoy seeing them and that it grounds them, as well as gives them hope that we can overcome the pandemic.
Kathy Levine, Prayers for the Pandemic, photo transfers acrylic paint and fabric 69
Kathy Levine, Prayers for the Pandemic, photo transfers acrylic paint and fabric
Kathy Levine, Prayers for the Pandemic, photo transfers acrylic paint and fabric
Kellie Murphy South Hadley, MA
Seeing the open call for this project brightened my spirit. Like so many others in these unprecedented times, I was feeling a bit isolated and this opportunity allowed me to contribute along with fellow artists to the benefit of a broader community. I wanted my flags to convey a sense of fragility and impermanence, so I chose silk for its ephemeral quality. Utilizing dyes and inks, my kinetic process imparts an energy of imperfection evident in the fabric stains. My flags are installed on the shore of a waterway in western Massachusetts. I struggled with the dipsy doodle wind as the sun shone through a partly cloudy sky. It was a good day.
Kellie Murphy, J.O.E., handpainted silk
Kellie Murphy J.O.E. 6, handpainted silk
Kellie Murphy, J.O.E. 5, handpainted silk
Laura Lou Levy East Orange, NJ
Feelings of isolation and confusion dominated my world during the first weeks of quarantine. When the invitation to participate in this project emerged, it felt like an invitation to connect with an energy outside myself, an energy traveling the world like a wind. I worked with what I had, and what I knew. I was working on drawings of cataracts, or waterfalls, using thick glossy oil sticks and paint on paper canvas, each about 11” x 14”. The place where the water landed suddenly seemed perfect for words of hope–literally: Hope, and Love. Hope shimmered and billowed. The sentiments seemed almost far-fetched. But they were what I wanted to say, just to put out into the world. I hung the drawings in the window of my studio in East Orange. The place has been very quiet for the entire pandemic. But for those who did walk by, the words could be seen and the color could vibrate. I felt like I was adding a quiet voice to the chorus. I don’t see anyone, really, so no feedback yet. (I could always ask people... I didn’t think of doing that.) I think I’m going to bring the pieces to my home, where they could be seen by the many people taking walks along our street. They would suffer the weather–the rain for example, but it wouldn’t matter.
Laura Lou Levy, Hope and Love, oil stick on paper canvas
Laura Lou Levy, HOPE oil stick on paper canvas
Laura Lou Levy, LOVE, oil stick on paper canvas
Leslie Sheryll Jersey City, NJ
I had been working on my Home-Alone project when I saw the Prayers for the Pandemic call. I noted that the traditional rectangular panels and colors that makeup prayer flags were similar to the images in my series. This gave me the idea of digitally creating a prayer flag from my images about the pandemic. These images are about how the perception of the home has changed from a place of comfort and refuge to one of confinement and isolation within a few short months. I use color and shape to create a feeling of separation or otherness. These are photographs taken of homes in Jersey City. This flag does not actually exist as a â€œreal flagâ€? made of fabric, it is a series of individual images manipulated to look like an actual flag. The photograph was digitally printed and placed in a window in my home in the Van Vorst area of Jersey City.
Leslie Sheryll, Home Alone Prayer Flag, photograph 81
Natalie Moore Brooklyn, NY
I decided to use fabric scraps that I had, as I wanted the flag to feel somewhat familiar. The colors loosely aligned with the traditional Tibetan prayer flags– blue, white, red, and green, with some yellow tones. I wanted the prayers to be easily read and identified by passers by. So the first one I chose the “we are the world” chain figures to represent unity/community, for the second one I chose the word “love” with two touching hearts, and for the third I chose “hope” which I used the adinkra symbol NYAME BIRIBI WO SORO (God is in the heavens). I am planning of adding a ying/yang flag for balance, but I haven’t finished that yet. The flag is installed on the fence outside of my house in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I’ve noticed people stopping by to look at them and take photos as I live on a fairly busy street. I just loved the idea of this uplifting project.
Natalie Moore, Prayers for Community Love Hope, fabric
Natalie Moore, Community, fabric 84
Natalie Moore, Community Love Hope, fabric
Poramit Thantapalit Hackensack, NJ
I like the concept of this project because it uses art to motivate and spread a positive message to people in the time of crisis. In my country, Thailand, we have prayer flags. It is a nice Buddhist spiritual tradition and makes me feel good by spreading positivity to everyone. I started making this piece from the quote “Be strong now because things will get better. It might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever”. I think the meaning motivates and inspires me during the pandemic. This first hand image in the piece is made from recycled snack bags, plastic bags and packing tape. It’s symbolic of solidarity and support and is also used as a salute to express unity, strength, strong, resistance or victory. I think this piece will build courage and uplifting support for each other. The strength of everyone will help us get through any situation. I hung this piece on the third floor balcony of my apartment. It can be seen from street and surrounding buildings. We believe that by hanging flags in high places, it will carry the blessings messaged on the flags far away. The piece is very light weight. I installed it on a windy day. I consider this a good day because it will carry the blessings messaged on the flags far away. I secured the flag with packing tape on the glass window. It has nice movement when the wind passes by.
Poramit Thantapalit, Be Strong, mixed media
Robin Sherin New York, NY (flag in Delray Beach, FL)
I came down to Florida to care for my elderly mom who had been hospitalized with the flu. By the time she was discharged from hospital to rehab to home, NYC’s epidemic had exploded, so I sheltered in place with her and became her caregiver. Due to the pandemic (and Florida’s failure to mitigate it), the dining room in my mom’s retirement community is closed. Dinner is delivered to the residents in brown paper shopping bags. In the spirit of recycle/reuse I decided to deconstruct the bags for drawings or artist books? I wasn’t sure. I ordered a sketchbook, a cutting mat and an Olfa knife online, and as time went by, I got an inexpensive laser printer for documents, letters, etc, but also possibly for my artwork. Feeling at sea and wondering if my work was relevant or adequate for these times, I saw the open call for this project. I was intrigued and shared it on my social media for other artists, but it was outside my usual practice. And that’s what pushed me to do it–to overcome my discomfort with it and to think outside the box (my box). Plus, I really wanted to be a part of this; I wanted to be a member of this virtual community during this difficult time. I used stuff in my mom’s apartment combined with laser prints. The base layers of my flags are panels from brown paper shopping bags including their handles. The top layers are laser prints cut by hand from imagery created on my laptop. They’re a progression- either too much, or too little depending on whether they’re followed left to right, or vice versa. The completed project is hung outside from a string with clothespins. The imagery and the use of a computer to create it, is a regular part of my practice, but an outdoor installation is not. Conceptualizing this work was challenging and consequently it will influence and generate new work. This was a great opportunity and project at just the right time. It was inspiring.
Robin Sherin, Reveal Conceal, cut laser prints on shopping bags
Stephanie Daniels Jersey City, NJ
In early April, while sweating in bed with Covid’s wildly fluctuating fevers, body aches and shortness of breath I wondered if A: will I die? and B: will I ever want to eat again? –pretty much in that order. Since food was completely uninteresting, in my more lucid and energetic moments I began to draw. Three weeks later when I emerged from my corona cocoon, I walked outside into the garden and took as deep a breath as I could without coughing my head off. I was grateful to be able to inhale the sweetness of the spring. The fabric came from my next door neighbor, Charlotte, a seamstress. I texted her the drawings and an hour later, she put a big bag of clothing and fabric on the stoop. I am not a stranger to sewing, but this was more quilting and appliqué. There were a couple unintended surprises, some ripped out, some kept. I thought about putting something in the hole of the final flag - reading left to right, but nothing made sense. That hole is where it seems we are right now. Eventually we will fill it, but with what? I don’t know but it won’t, and shouldn’t, be filled with what was there before.
Stephanie Daniels, Thereâ€™s a Hole, fiber 91
These flags fly in the garden of our house, which, as a city brownstone, is viewable by every house on our block and the three others that make up the block. There is a highish rise overlooking all the homes in our little historic block, so they too can see the flags as they flap in the summer breeze. I originally hung them in front of my house between the 3rd floor windows, and only once when I was adjusting them did someone ask what they were. Since they’ve been in the back, I’ve gotten more comments. They are fairly open to interpretation, so I’ll tell them about Prayers for the Pandemic and what they mean to them before telling them what they are for me. For lots of reasons, it was healing for me to make these flags.
Stephanie Daniels, Thereâ€™s a Hole, fiber
Stephanie Daniels, Thereâ€™s a Hole 02, fiber
Stephanie Daniels, Thereâ€™s a Hole 05, fiber
Susan Cornick Jersey City, NJ (flag in Columbia, MD)
I am deeply spiritual and believe in the universal energy of the collective as a powerful healing source. As COVID-19 unfolded globally, I experienced an incredible hopefulness as the universal strength of the collective human spirit evolved in the midst of tremendous loss, pain, and uncertainty. This display of human fragility and strength inspired me to participate in this beautiful global public art project as a way of honoring the human spirit and the power of prayer as we move in harmony toward healing, peace and light. I created a prayer flag which symbolized a being kneeling on a prayer rug surrounded by and incorporating the Five Elements (or Five Pure Lights): yellow symbolizing earth, blue symbolizing sky and space, white symbolizing air and wind, red symbolizing fire, and green symbolizing water. According to Tibetan medicine, health and harmony are produced through the balance of these Five Elements.
Susan Cornick A Prayer, fabric collage 97
As an abstract artist, it is my intention that this fabric collage of found material cut into abstract geometric forms and hand stitched together evokes feelings of spirituality and peace symbolized by the Five Elements. The hand stitching is a metaphorical representation of healing through mending. I placed my prayer flag in the wooded area behind my familyâ€™s home in Columbia, Maryland where I have been spending the past several months since the beginning of the pandemic. This wooded area consists of well-traveled community paved bike and walking paths, tot lots, run-off creeks from the Patuxent River, and numerous homes with backyards jutting into the woods. It was so cool to be able to install my prayer flag in the midst of nature, the all-powerful source of healing and life. I also love the fact that my prayer flag is located in the woods by community pathways where people of all ages commune with nature--walking, jogging, biking, swimming, picnicking, sitting, or meditating--spending time in quiet solitude or communing with family and friends. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this wonderful and moving public art project with other artists as our collective creativity spreads universal light, harmony, hope, healing and joy.
Susan Cornick A Prayer, fabric collage 99
Susan Evans Grove South Orange, NJ
Years ago when I first entered the Drawing Rooms it was apparent to me that along with experiencing great art and thought provoking curation, there was a strong and supportive community forming there. At a time like this, where “normal” has become completely unglued, community is more important than ever– as is thought provoking curation. I wanted to participate in this project in order to continue to be a part of this magnificent community. My flags are made from medical masks which I hung from the burgee line of a sailboat. The boat is in Liberty Landing Marina, just across the canal from the Jersey City Medical Center. Burgees are traditionally meant to identify a yacht club. In this case, they signify the hospital and the front line responders who have given up months of their lives to combat COVID-19. Every night at 7pm, when people on the streets of Jersey City clap out their windows in support of the first responders, people at the marina blast their ship horns 5 short blasts which means “danger”. People in marinas are always tinkering and generally have weird things hanging off their boats so no one really bats an eye. I have always had prayer flags hanging in my yard. Visually they are colorful and cheery. They represent sending prayers and good wishes out to those around me. This is beautifully poetic to me.
Susan Evans Grove, 7pm, masks
Teressa Marie Valla New York, NY
When I’m painting, I use pieces of fabric to wipe my brushes and palette knives on. These cotton scraps often result in unique abstract paintings. I chose one piece from a pile and decided to imbue its surface with a universal abstract emotional text, “PEACE and LOVE”. How could “PEACE and LOVE” not be a global yearning during our Coronavirus time? I chose ultramarine blue paint to represent PEACE, and gold to punctuate LOVE. The repetition of words on this flag is also reflected in chants, supplications, hymns, meditations, and prayers that can support the viewer beyond immediate physical concerns into a place of transcendence. This is the gift I hope to leave with the public.
Teressa Valla, Lovely Radiance, flashe and acrylic and canvas
I installed the pieces in an ageless NY urban context, a tar rooftop of an 1890 building as well as near the public gardens in front of the American Museum of Natural History, New York. The prayer flag hung on a lyrical branch that has been part of my home for more than a decade. I wish I could hear what the public thinks as I see them glance at the flag. I have seen expanded eyes, sharp jawlines, heads bow, and children gurgle. Thank you for offering an opportunity for artists to share their gifts with the world to heal, impact, and potentially raise the consciousness of our global community.
Teressa Valla, Rapture, flashe and acrylic on canvas
Trix Rosen Jersey City, NJ
I was drawn to this project because of my commitment to my Jewish heritage and because I wanted to offer a prayer for everyone in this time of the pandemic. My piece, “Capped”, consists of a string of colorful Jewish skullcaps, tied and hung in the 12th floor window of my apartment overlooking the uptown streets of Jersey City. In Jewish tradition, a skullcap (or kippah) is worn as a sign of reverence for God. At my summer Jewish camp in the Catskills, Cejwin, when a boy liked a girl, he affectionately gave her his daytime kippah, which she wore with a pin on her waist. These particular kippot, or skullcaps, are from the collection of a friend, Steven Paskowitz; he wore each one at a different Jewish wedding. They are bright and spiritual like the Tibetan prayer flag, signifying good will and blessings for all. I am disabled with Parkinson’s Disease so a friend helped me tie and hang my flags in the window. When anyone enters my apartment, the flags are directly in front of them, and they put a smile on the face of everyone.
Trix Rosen Capped, kippot
Yael Dresdner NY, NY
I wanted to create something that reflected both the sorrow and sense of hope that I’ve been experiencing, and imagine other people have been experiencing as well. Hands were the first image that came to my mind when I read the call for “Prayers for the Pandemic.” We use hands and touch to care for one another, to communicate, and create. I wanted the piece to be both mournful and playful– to appeal to anybody, old and young, so I used simple, graphic forms, cut out of colorful paper. In my piece, the absent hands speak of loss, and how healthcare workers can’t touch Covid-19 patients (without gloves), in order to protect themselves from infection. The ‘hole hands’ are supported by solid hands, touching and waving. I installed the piece on the fence separating the running path from the reservoir in Central Park, facing east. This way, some of the buildings you see through the hands are part of Mount Sinai hospital, where many, many Covid-19 patients are treated. Installing the piece on the fence separating the running path from the reservoir in Central Park took two sessions. During the first time, the wind moved the hands around so you couldn’t see the city through them, and also bent the foam core frame. I doubled up the foam core frame and headed to the park again. The second outing was more peaceful, except for an elderly lady who protested my “use of everyone’s park” for my art. Other passers-by were more appreciative, but overall, I got less comments or questions than I expected.
Yael Dresdner, My Beloved City Will Rise Again, cut paper 109
Yeon Ji Yoo Brooklyn, NY
At the start of the shelter-in in NYC, I wanted to share something with my neighbors so that there was a continued sense of community, along with an acknowledgement of longing and hope that is born of isolation and fear. I saw your call for prayer flags and although these are not in the form of flags exactly, I thought maybe it was something that was in kindred spirit. These small shrines are made of discarded cardboard and found objects around my neighborhood, like a sprig of a plantâ€“ an overlooked treasure. In bringing together and framing the open view of the home with the object, I was hoping to highlight the many wonderful things that still happen in our daily lives, even if they have become smaller and more contained. I hope that someone will come upon these pieces while looking up at the trees or the sky while on a walk. I hope that it will be a pleasant surprise! These are hung up in Greenpoint and Williamsburg Brooklyn. I will continue to hang up these interventions where and when I can. In finding suitable places for each shrine, I had to move and readjust the height and locations so that they could be easily found but not easily removed. I have had people see photos and tell me they will go on a walk just to find them. I think these four pieces have already been taken by people, the longest having stayed up for 2 months. I wish more people had been able to see these, but am happy that someone found so much happiness with them to want to take them home. I will continue to place these interventions around Brooklyn to bring more joy, as we need it now more than ever.
Yeon Ji Yoo, Bird Song, mixed media 111
Yeon Ji Yoo, Seed Drop, mixed media 112
Yeon Ji Yoo, Come Visit Me On Christmas Eve, mxed media 113
Yeon Ji Yoo, Boob Tube, mixed media
Our thanks to all of our donors for their continual support. Dedicated to all who have suffered during this crisis. Victory Hall Press 926 Newark Ave Jersey City, NJ 07306 ISBN: 9798673147092 August 2020 Designer, Editor: Anne Trauben Layout: James Pustorino
This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts /Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, Thomas A. DeGise, County Executive, and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Prayers for the Pandemic; Prayers for Progress is our ongoing public art project happening across the United States. The concept draws inspi...
Published on Aug 8, 2020
Prayers for the Pandemic; Prayers for Progress is our ongoing public art project happening across the United States. The concept draws inspi...