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Prayers for the Pandemic VOLUME ONE: MAY 2020

DRAWING ROOMS

victory hall press 1


PRAYERS FOR THE PANDEMIC DRAWING ROOMS, JERSEY CITY, NJ Volume One: May, 2020 Prayers for the Pandemic, beginning 5/15/20, is our new exhibit, an ongoing public art project, happening across the US. Drawing Rooms in Jersey City, NJ, has been closed to the public since 3/16/20, due to Coronavirus. Frontline healthcare workers are doing amazing heroic work and essential workers are keeping the current state of our society going. We believe art is, of course, important– especially to the well-being of all of our communities. Especially now. We also believe artists want to use their skills and talents to help. Cue Prayers for the Pandemic..... Prayers for the Pandemic draws inspiration from Tibetan prayer flags that are made of colorful rectangular cloth strung along trails and peaks high in the Himalayas. The flags are used to bless the surrounding area. While we are all living through the Coronavirus pandemic, we feel everyone could use blessings. We want to send positive Karma out into the world and brighten each other’s days in the special way that art can do. Our intention is to flood the world with artist’s “prayer flags”. Prayers for the Pandemic will reach thousands of people locally, nationally, and around the world. We are publishing catalogs for this exhibit in installments. Volume 1 includes the first group of 34 artists’ works. This catalog features flags flying from California to New York City to Florida-- flags hanging on the sides of buildings, in the windows of suburban homes and storefronts, on a wooden country fence and a barbed wire ranch enclosure, in medical labs, strung between trees in parks, over city streets and everywhere that we are sheltering through this time.

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It was exciting to receive these artist’s images and to read their intentions in making and placing their flags. Here are a few examples of what these artists had to say: “Making artwork for this show gave me a feeling of connectivity and community.” --- Alberte Bernier “I love that artists are united in creating public works to promote peace and calm so that the power of prayer in unison may influence the universe.” ––Donna Conklin King “I’m very moved by the power of a collective, international project. When we work together, we create more than art. We create change. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that most people intuitively understand that art itself can be a prayer.” ––Katie Niewodowski It is our hope that this project, currently an online exhibit, will become the show which 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 My travels to the small, mysterious Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan broke down my fixed images of landscape, time, and place. While grounded in Bhutan’s material reality, this photograph isn’t about Buddhist prayer flags per se. Instead, it reflects my experiences of a westerner whose habitual visual narratives were usefully disrupted in this different reality. Prayer flags flutter like brightly colored birds as the wind blows through them carrying wishes of peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom through out the world.

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Anne Q McKeown California Prayer Flags in different places live outside. Cloth flags fade and become tattered with the energies of the sun, rain, wind. In some places older flags can be seen in contrast with newer prayers. Prayers can be amorphous. Desires for peace, harmony and good will for others, can be so deep inside us that we use prescribed words or make repetitive sounds to stay focused on our intent. Handmade paper and color with minimal imagery represent my prayers for all. I feel there is no single solution for the deep needs of each as they move towards balance, completion in life. I chose to offer my prayers in the open spaces around me. Each installation was in a place of celebration of the beauty that is offered by our earth. The fence posts or barbed wire are obvious markers of the presence of humans. Most of my prayer flags are handmade paper. Those pieces can shred and deteriorate outdoors. They, as vulnerable as they are, can represent our current fragility. We attempt to find solutions to heal and to prevent a ferocious virus. A gift from nature reminds us that humans are a part of a global environment rather than rulers of it. My works were installed in isolated places. Sometimes it was a temporary place on other people’s barbed wire. Birds, insects, maybe snakes and mice might have noticed my intrusion on the environment. In some places my feet crushed the stalks of grasses and wildflowers. Several long horn steer moved over behind me to see if there was anything in my presence that might benefit them. When I turned back to see them again, they had moved on leaving no comment. Several pieces were challenged by the winds on a stormy day. Those could have torn or blown onto property where I had no rights to tread. One situation with artworks that has perplexed me over time is the need to treat work as a precious object that loses its value once it acquires the wear of time. There was delight along with anxiety as I wrestled the wind or tread in tall grasses to install and record my visual expressions under a threatening sky or in the bright, bright sun. 4


Anne Q McKeown

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Anne Q McKeown


Anne Q McKeown

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Alberte Bernier New York City

The coronavirus is an existential threat to humanity. It has been devastating the entire world and has disrupted my life, as well as the life of everyone I know. In a way, social distancing has narrowed my medium choice. My studio is bolted up and I’m hunkered down in my apartment. So, I decided to cut some blouses, scarves, gloves and designer-towels into geometric shapes and then sewed and glued them together. I also used some meditation imagery. I used geometric shapes as symbols of surfaces where everyone has a safe space. My pieces have been placed alternately on the outside of my door and my wall and the bulletin board of my building. I have not received any feedback yet. Since social distancing started, I had not created any artwork until I received the call for entry from Drawing Rooms. It took me a while to warm up to it, but “Prayers for the Pandemic� was the wake-up call I needed to get out of that lethargy. Making artwork for this show gave me a feeling of connectivity and community.

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Alberte Bernier

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Ansel Oommen New York City

I am a medical technologist working in clinical microbiology. My colleagues and I conduct the PCR tests that aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19. As the frontline workers who process hundreds of SARS-CoV-2 samples, we also see the results and feel the impact they have on our communities. I thought the prayer flag was an interesting concept– a way of purifying and sanctifying the air. In the lab, especially during the beginning of the NYC outbreak, the atmosphere was so heavy and the thought of having something airy, like a flag, to disperse that heaviness, felt comforting. My piece is entitled Immortal Lotus and it is the presence of a lotus formed by the strategic absence of biohazard labels. The piece was hung inside the COVID-19 testing laboratory at the hospital where I work as a way to symbolize transcendence during a very ambiguous and difficult time. The work itself is a transformation of a symbol of danger (the biohazard label) into a symbol of beauty and peace (the lotus). The lotus emerges from the mud, calmly parts the turbid water, and poises itself into the air. It is all these things, yet it is also beyond all these things. I installed it at night (I work night shifts) so it was not viewed by anyone else. It was a visual reminder for me to find peace as I was working.

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Ansel Oommen

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Bailey Harris Texas

My piece is a hand-sewn light teal flag decorated with a repeated rainbow pattern in gouache. As the pattern reaches the bottom, the colors begin to fade and parts of the rainbow merge into fewer colors. This is similar to our days in quarantine merging together into a solid phase of time. If you read it from the bottom up, you can see that there are brighter days ahead and one day quarantine will be over. I hung this in my front window next to my indoor plant. This is my first plant to survive the winter.

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Bailey Harris 13


Caridad Kennedy Hoboken, NJ This is a prayer flag I created which is inspired by the rainbow photos that have flooded my social media newsfeed during the pandemic. While rainbows during the heavy spring months when it rains are a common occurrence, it has become a symbol and image of much needed hope during the pandemic. After I created the front of the flag, I showed it to my son and asked him to choose a word to write on the reverse side of a sheer scarf that belonged to my late mother and hand-stitched them together. He wrote the word “Hope” and encircled it with the peace symbol to which I added the words; Leadership, Courage, Love, Humanity, Science, Compassion and drew the symbol for the red cross. The flag is constructed from mixed media on canvas including watercolor, acrylic, buttons, textile and repurposed jewelry embellishments. I hung it on the outside fence behind our apartment building to photograph it and left it up for a while. Due to predicted rain later in the day, I brought it back indoors and installed it in my son’s room at his request. I installed it in the early evening hours on the backside fence of my apartment building. It is a residential street and was quiet that night. I snapped some pics and then needed to return inside to tend to some chores. There were some roof workers who were done for the day in my building who were loading up their car. They didn’t comment or pay much mind to what I was doing. A couple walked by as I was installing it and just looked, but did not comment. I returned later in the evening to retrieve it due to predicted rainfall and concern over damage. I again installed it in my son’s room upon his request. I’ve since sealed the paint with archival clear varnish and will install it in my building courtyard for my neighbors to view. I enjoyed the process of making the flag as I’ve never made such an object and look forward to viewing the work of other artists. I appreciate the intent to spread positive images and messages around the world.

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Caridad Kennedy

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Donna Conklin King Roseland, NJ

I want to create imagery that grounds us, a solid prayer, a stabilizing force with symbols that remind us, in these times, of the possibilities in our future. Using universal symbols of life and water, Monument offers the stability of a foundation, a marker of this time in history that we are living in. Made with cast concrete, steel and pigment, it has been placed in my yard with a view from the street. I have had some positive feedback, mostly from social media. I love that artists are united in creating public works to promote peace and calm so that the power of prayer in unison may influence the universe.

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Donna Conklin King

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Donna Maria deCreeft New York City

I have been working on series of prayer flags for many years. My prayer flags are a form of spiritual expression, and as works of art they meld science, art and spirituality, The three disciplines have been teased apart over the centuries, but I believe they grew from the same root--human curiosity-- and belong together. I like the idea of the messages on the flags drifting out into the world on the wind, especially now when we need to think holistically and collaboratively to solve our problems. I hung my piece near the front door of the building where I live, but I moved it to the fire escape on my floor. Every evening at 7PM, the neighborhood bangs on pots, beat drums and shouts praises to the essential workers. I thought of this project as a visual form of appreciation. My flag represents elements of spiritual belief. I painted the images red, black and white to represent the colors of the matriarchal goddess (white for Virgin, red for Mother, and black for Crone). Throughout history, she has been the source of earth-based religions and practices around the world. Her symbols are: square (for the four corners of the earth), upward pointing triangle for fire, downward pointing triangle for water, circle for continuity, spiral for the journey, and the infinity sign. The symbols are universal, and have mathematical significance, as do the number of flags on the string– nine, which is a magic number. Part of nine’s magic is that it is divisible by three and there are many forms of three in the work. The element of Air, considered masculine in many belief systems, delivers the prayers. My flag is placed on front of my building at 241 West 20th Street

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Donna Maria deCreeft 19


Elie Porter Trubert New Jersey

I love public art and any non-traditional placement of work in locations where a broad range of viewers can come across it. The idea of sending messages out into the world appeals to me at a time when we are so unconnected and divided. This series is part of an exhibition to take place in July tentatively titled, “The Great Beyond.� It is an installation that explores what happens when we die and incorporates both visual and sound elements. The cyanotypes are made from photos I took of clouds superimposed with quotes from an interview with my father about his thoughts on death. That interview and his subsequent death inspired the series. The cyanotypes were initially hung on the clothesline in my backyard and only seen by those in my household. I plan to laminate the photos and hang them closer to the road so that they are visible to people passing on foot (there is more foot traffic than ever in my rural neighborhood now) or hang them on the porch of a cabin that houses a gallery in a local park. I love this project.

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Elie Porter Trubert

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Elizabeth Mead Williamsburg, Virginia

There was a clarity and a sense hope that the project elicited. I used white Rives BFK paper, cotton thread, and bamboo. The blankness and purity of the white seemed to me to offer hope, a new beginning, a fresh start. I hung the flag in a number of places, but settled on the column orientation hanging in my carport. The columnar structure gave the delicate paper strength. However, it was difficult to capture the layering and translucent quality, so I brought it inside and hung it in the window. The second image allows you to see the translucency, indicating a way to see through to the other side of the pandemic. The piece is tricky to keep outside as it can’t withstand the elements, so ultimately inside is better. Through photographs people have commented on its beauty. I am delighted to be a part of this project.

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Elizabeth Mead

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JoAnne Lobotsky Vermont

It was interesting to think of my small textile pieces in the context of prayer flags. I love the idea that the prayers “will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.” I have fairly recently switched from painting and mixed media to textiles. I am still feeling my way around this medium. At this time, I believe many artists are giving themselves permission to explore. I don’t have any idea where a piece will take me when I start it, and don’t feel like I have a lot of control over it. But in this way, I create a sense of hope as I work and I think that is my objective, rather than the finished product. I hung them by each entrance to the house and on the fence by the road. I was a little concerned about what my neighbor across the street would think since I am a private person and do not like to draw attention! But, he seemed okay. Kids passing by on bikes seemed to like them. I hope everyone keeps their spirits up and peace in their hearts during this difficult time.

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JoAnne Lobotsky 25


JoAnne Lobotsky 26


JoAnne Lobotsky 27


Jodie Fink Hoboken, NJ

I have always loved prayer flags and the sense of peace that they offer. I made 3 prayer flags– one for my husband, one for my daughter and the other for myself in an effort to create some sense of control over the virus and ask the universe to keep us safe. They needed to be bright and colorful to cheer us up when we looked out the window to glance at the clouds and sky above. My pray flags are made from dye used on Easter eggs because of the significance of rebirth with abstracted drawings of the Coronavirus on top. I’m hoping that we stay healthy and this experience teaches us some new lessons to live by. My flags are personal and attached to a window in my home that can only be seen by the members of my household and mother nature. My family appreciates how they brighten things up, but no word from mother nature yet. Can’t wait to see all the pray flags and the peace, comfort and strength that they provide.

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Jodie Fink

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Juliet Martin New York City

This topic felt universal. For me, as an atheist, it felt like a prayer I could relate to. I wrote my “prayer” in scrawled handwriting to mimic the prayers in Tibetan flags. I illustrated my fears of permanently loosing physical touch with the world. I hung it on our deck which looks out over Manhattan. Theoretically, the city could see my flag. There isn’t really anyone on our deck except for me and my husband. He watched me hang it, knowing it is a prayer for us. Creating public art in a non-public space made me feel more in touch with the outside world. It is a spiritual connection– made me feel not so alone.

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Juliet Martin 31


June He New Jersey

Creating art works at my home in New Jersey is a way for me to heal my soul during this unprecedented time. By participating in this project, I intend to spread hope and resilience to fellow artists and viewers. I want to send my appreciation and prayers to people who risk their lives to save us and humanity. My goal is to create positive energy, not only for myself, but hopefully for the emotional landscape of our society, during this dark time in modern history. I was heartbroken reading the news about doctors and nurses under tremendous pressure and risks to save lives around the world. There are numerous stories constantly inspire and encourage me to cherish the beauty of life. I would like to pay tribute to them by dedicating my painting, The Prayer, to them. There was a stone well in my parents’ old house. I grew up drinking water from it. The water was warm in winter and chill in summer. It was most delicious water in my memory. In my painting, the well in my piece, The Help, is metaphorical. It is a symbol of love, help, and appreciation from nature, supporting generations of people. It is a repository of memory and strength, which leads us to find our path through current difficult situation.

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June He 33


June He 34


June He 35


Karen Kertesz-Sklar New York City

I am inspired by the concept of sending my prayers and hopes sent into the wind and the world. In this cyanotype series I try to bring the gods back to an ancient moment, putting them into an environment where they will be honored once again. Since the pandemic and with all schools closed, I have been ordering lower quality pre-coated paper and fabric to cyanotype onto. I sneak outside, away from my 2 teenagers, and print along the Hudson River or in Central Park. It has saved me. I hung these flags out my kitchen window as I pondered the lack of humanity on Amsterdam Avenue, which was once constantly bustling. I feel as if I am sending a prayer out to NYC with these flags, missing my time in the City where I took so much for granted. I was unable to leave my flags up for very long due to high winds. I live on the eighth floor and am not sure if anyone could see them from the street but my kids loved them!

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Karen Kertesz-Sklar

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Katie Niewodowski Florida

The process of drawing and painting is my way of channeling good energy into a visual format. Art making itself can be a meditation and a prayer. This has been an especially important anchor for me in this difficult time. When so much sad news is streaming through our awareness daily, I hope to infuse positivity and beauty into the world. I’m very moved by the power of a collective, international project. When we work together, we create more than art. We create change. Using the Tibetan Prayer Flags as inspiration, I created five unique drawings in the color scheme of the traditional flags. Each abstract drawing contains a repetition of circles which references cells, molecules, atoms, stars, galaxies, even viruses! The process is a meditation on the connectivity of everything in this universe, from micro to macro. Since the beginning of the pandemic I have been “sheltering in place” in Florida, taking care of my mom who broke her foot. I am away from my Jersey City art studio so I’ve been using her dining table and basic art materials like watercolor, ink, and colored pencil on paper to continue making art. The prayer flags were hung in the sunshine near a small lake in her condo complex. The wind was strong on the day that I hung the flags– that caused a bit of a comedic situation, ha! But once they were strung between the trees, I really enjoyed the movement and shadows they created in the natural environment. The responses so far have been of intrigue. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that most people intuitively understand that art itself can be a prayer. One individual said she felt chills. I am honored to be included in this collaborative project. I can feel the good energy spreading internationally! It’s great to be connected through art.

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Katie Niewodowski 39


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Katie Niewodowski


Katie Niewodowski

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Kimberley Wiseman Virginia

I loved the idea of this project. Its surprisingly simple; two balloon sticks from the store, one is a smiley face with a thermometer and a bar tag as a mask, and the other balloon says good luck– basically tongue and cheek, but really a bit of truth. My sister thought my piece was funny. Appropriating, sampling, and remixing every day objects... My piece is bit of an homage to Andy Warhol who famously said that everyone is an artist.

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Kimberley Wiseman

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Kristin Reed Brooklyn, NY

My studio shut down on March 22nd so I brought some materials home. Six weeks of the shutdown went by and I was only drawing some naked figures with masks late at night. I knew these drawings were coming from my heart and that they were a component of something I was beginning to envision. When I heard about “Prayers for the Pandemic” I realized that they were for Prayer Flags. I have a string of Tibetan Prayer Flags strung across my desk that I stare at all the time. The concept of this project really inspired me to do a series of flags as a response to my time locked alone in my apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn that I am still working on. During this pandemic I spent a lot of interior time searching deep within myself. Not feeling very creative, it was a time of introspection– especially in the beginning when I felt a little paralyzed and anxious. I started drawing generic figures with surgical masks displaying different ways of coping with the pandemic– perhaps they were all really me as I went through different stages of response. I scanned the drawings and created a series of flags with messages, or prayers if you will, for learning to respond to the pandemic with wisdom instead of reaction. I printed them on paper and strung them over the front door of my building for all to heed as they entered. When I can get back in my studio, I will create them on fabric. I installed them right before going away for a week, so I didn’t experience any feedback. When I returned they were no longer there. Only the string remained.

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Kristin Reed

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Kristin Reed 46


Kristin Reed 47


Laura Brown New York

I was drawn to this project by the thought that art could offer spiritual healing These detailed pencil portraits of people are representative of those who lost their lives to this virus. I chose a heavy textured paper and just before hanging. I suddenly erased over their image, much like the sudden onset of this virus. People who saw the portraits blowing in the wind were concerned about their frailty.

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Laura Brown

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Laurie Newman Rutherford, NJ

These are unique and unprecedented times. We need lots of positive energy to move forward. I created my Tibetan Prayer Flag to help send out lots of good Karma into the universe. My Tibetan Prayer Flag is photographed hanging from the rock wall around my home. The wall is alongside the sidewalk and the flag could be seen by anyone walking or driving past it. The flag is made out of paper with computer printed emojis. The center flower piece is one of my drawings made with water color pencils on paper. The flower, a drawing of a cherry blossom tree in my neighborhood, represents renewal, and renewal is what we need to rebuild our communities. The emojis used in the background represent health, healing, peace, strength, wisdom, and compassion. They were chosen to provide inspiration and send out positive Karma into the world, as well as wishes, such as giving hugs and playing music, which I am looking forward to doing again together “when life gets back to normal”. I enjoyed the process of taking a piece of my art and making it into a Tibetan Prayer Flag. It brought positivity into my life. I tried hanging the flag in several places around my home and decided the wall along side my house was the best spot. It is a beautiful rock wall that was built in the mid-1920’s. Since it has been around for almost 100 years, I imagine it has put out a lot of good Karma, and so I thought it was the perfect place for my Tibetan Prayer Flag. I really enjoyed this project. Thank you for the opportunity!

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Laurie Newman

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Lelia Stokes Weinstein Rhode Island

Sending out hope and gratitude to all of the Earth feels right. If enough folks do this, we will emerge a more unified species. Panic and denial are counterproductive in facing climate change and pandemic Peace. My prayer flag is a wing across our garage facing a busy walking street under our homemade peace sign. The flag is made out of the wrapping on our Who Gives A Crap toilet paper. I sewed the wrappers into face masks. Early in the lock down in the USA, all the news was about was lack of protective masks and toilet paper. Making flags representing both seemed appropriate. I wanted to use materials I had in-hand materials. Even the twine was in our house. The neighborhood seems noncommittal, or asks “What is it?�. Few see what the materials or form are. As in a Tibetan flag, I hope as the rain and wind work on the paper, my prayers for peace and commonality will rise and be sensed around the Earth. Great project. Thanks for the opportunity.

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Lelia Stokes Weinstein

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Leslie Nobler New Jersey I’ve also drawn inspiration from prayer flags, and I tend to have a spiritual + social justice aspect to my work. So it makes “us” a great fit. I hung the first few multicolor “flags” (the large piece and the smaller masks) on my big kitchen {French-Door} window and placed the last flag (medical face-mask) on a tree nearby the window. The first, larger flag, is an interpretation of Bojagi, a traditional Korean form of patchwork. With the leftover fabric from the big Bojagi flag, I sewed fabric face mask-flags. These flags are patchworks of “stone+mud walls” and gridded tiny temporary houses (for refugees), among other textures of fields of grasses, cut up typography, and transparent “eyes.” Weeks ago, I created a video by placing and recording these flags, throughout the day, in my kitchen {French-Door} glass window. Now it is slated to be shown as part of an exhibition about women in Digital Art. I took still photos of the colorful flags during different times of day, in the sunny window, and collaged them here. Beyond that, I found the blue mask-flag on an early walk in the woods during the pandemic. I felt it was very emblematic of our situation and put a photo of it on a tree and in several text messages. I will soon put it on Instagram, along with the others, where I gather support from other likeminded artists.. The feedback is interesting. The video garnered attention and is planned to be included in an exhibition. The Instagram posting of the flag gets many likes. My small family group and observers of the flags were moved by their translucence and almost fragility. Let’s pray for a vaccine, cure, and help for those immigrants and marginalized communities most affected by this virus!

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Leslie Nobler 55


Linda Byrne New York City

My flag is hung on the roof of my building to be seen by the people on the rooftops banging and shouting for all the essential workers at 7pm. I was excited by the project and researched the meanings and imagery on actual prayer flags. I had limited means to make my flags since my studio has been on lockdown and I only brought a few supplies to my home to do work on a small table. I was tossing some old papers away, among them an old ocean calendar, and thought to use it as the base for each of the 5 panels with an endangered animal representing both a color and the “powerful horse”. The three flaming jewels over each animal was added with gouache. I then made my own version of the 4 corner animals which I drew in gel pen. Written across the images are the words that the flags promote: peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom, adding respect as the fifth word. A recycled interpretation of a traditional flag, sewn onto a string and hung from the roof of my tenement to spread good will to a stricken city. It was a challenge hanging the piece with all the wind we’ve been experiencing but it finally worked and I was so pleased with how it looked. It was too windy to keep it on the roof so I then hung it inside my kitchen window facing out into the world. The feedback from several people who have seen the images on the roof and then in the window have been so great - all loved the flags and the idea. It was a really fun project!

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Linda Byrne 57


Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern Shrewsbury, NJ

This project provides a safe way to be part of a collaboration which communicates visual messages and feelings in a live situation while observing social distancing. In this difficult time, I guess I am interpreting the theme of a prayer flag as more of a social outcry. I wanted to create a strong, graphic image that would signify caution– construction signage came into my mind, with its use of very vibrant colors. I also thought about connections we have with the red circle with a slash– how something is not welcomed or allowed. It made me think of “Ghostbusters,” which inspired the title “CovidBuster.” Everyone who has seen this image is responding in a positive way. I hope this project can help reach and connect us, and am glad to be a part of it.

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Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern

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Elizabeth Rovetto, Lucy Rovetto Jersey City, NJ

In these uncertain and strange times we loved the idea of putting good, healing, fun energy out into the atmosphere. Now more than ever we need to release an abundance of positivity, visually and verbally (Lucy): My “prayers” were made from materials that were around me: string, glue, gloves and broken plastic straps. I loved the bright, fun color of the yellow string, and started to crochet it then poured glue and corn starch mixture on it to make it stiff. The gloves are formed into sign language messages: “I love you” and “unity”. I used the black straps like sketching black lines to unify mine and my sister’s “prayers”. (Elizabeth): My “prayers” are crocheted pieces with encouraging words of hope and unity. The theme was inspired by the Braveheart cry: “As One” and a call for selfless acts towards others. Although we have not gotten any feedback yet, I feel that since we hung it outside our windows, people in our immediate area are coming out of the houses and sitting on their front steps, talking and laughing together, maybe its just coincidence, but something in me believes it makes the area feel safer and more inviting. (Elizabeth Rovetto) Unfortunately, the scale of “me” and “we” has become unbalanced. We need to come together again, bringing that which is most important to us all into perspective. I believe that when we start putting out more unconditional love, compassion, care for our neighbors and strangers, rather than “me first”, we will each find our true identity. Healing. Strength. Unity. Wouldn’t it be sweet to see kindness towards one another... and nature on a daily basis instead of only when there is a tragedy?

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Elizabeth Rovetto, Lucy Rovetto

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Elizabeth Rovetto, Lucy Rovetto


Elizabeth Rovetto, Lucy Rovetto

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Margaret Roleke Easton, Connecticut

I had already put a sign in my window thanking the health care workers and delivery people, so this project appealed to me as a way of bonding with other artists and reaching out to the community at large. My piece is a cyanotype on fabric. I just started making cyanotypes since the pandemic and this was my first time making them on fabric. The first one came out very light, but the next one was dark and I thought they looked good together so I hung them both on an old hen house on my property that my partner is making into my studio. I used all different words and a few house images to express my feelings about staying safe and thanking all the essential workers. It was easy to install and my family members have told me they like it. It is also visible from the street, but I haven’t heard from any neighbors about it yet.

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Margaret Roleke

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Michael Ensminger Brooklyn, New York

I was drawn by both the content/message and the community aspect of the project. I have enjoyed Yoko Ono’s work for many years, including her book of instructional artworks “Grapefruit”. My work for Prayers for the Pandemic is inspired by one of her instructions. The instruction (from memory) was to take a small piece of blank canvas, cut a hole in it, and hang it in your window. This seemed like a perfect piece to draw on for inspiration during these times. I made the work out of a scrap of canvas and ink and installed it in my bedroom window as a reminder to pause and take in the sky... something so much bigger than me. It is installed in my apartment so only my husband and I see it. He enjoys it.

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Michael Ensminger

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Michael Garda New York City

I have been creating art that channeled a lot of the negative feelings surrounding my experience with the pandemic (e.g. anxiety, loneliness, isolation) and I really enjoyed working on this project where I could instill hope for myself and others. I wanted to illustrate that everyone has the ability to lift others up during this time. I created 12 flag pieces based on the astrological signs. I used the symbols for each sign along with a word that captures what the meaning of the sign in the context of what qualities will help people overcome the pandemic and maintain a strong, healthy, and supportive community. I hung my flags outside in nature in my backyard where they could be a personal reminder to me, as well as outside on a rough building where the contrast shows that things can get better even when falling apart. When I installed my pieces in a public space a lot of passersby were looking at this curiously while I took photos. I had to remove them from that space and put them back in my house as the wind and rain took a toll on them and I would like to find a solution to make them more weather resistant and permanent before putting them back in a public space.

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Michael Garda

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Mollie Thonneson Jersey City, NJ

I love the idea of pouring well wishes into an object and then sending those good vibes out into the universe. “Water-Earth-Sky-Wind-Fire, repeat” is based on the Tibetan Prayer Flags that can be found blessing Buddhist temples and protecting Himalayan trails. The flags are five colors that represent the elements and appear in the same order. The order and color/ element is as follows; Green-Water, Yellow-Earth, Blue-Sky, White-Wind, Red-Fire. The only thing I changed from the traditional prayer flags was the type of fabric and pattern. Mine are made with blingy fabrics because that is what I have on hand and my design technique of leaving the ends frayed, marries nicely with the Tibetan belief that the broken threads are prayers being released. Sewing the flags was a healing meditation. Flying the flags was an exciting one. For this project, I hung my flags in our neighborhood park along with the United States flag, MIA, State of New Jersey, and County of Hudson flags, which have been flying half mast in respect for those lives lost. It was a hugely windy day and my prayers exploded everywhere! It was fun hanging them in the park, but I wasn’t able to leave them there. Now I hang them every evening in my front yard for the 7pm jam session my neighbors hold to thank the health care workers and first responders. Between the flags and the cacophony of drums and flutes, everyone’s spirits seem lifted. Thank you for a great call for art. It was a pleasure working on this project.

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Mollie Thonneson

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Nanette Reynolds Beachner Jersey City, NJ

I have always been drawn to the spiritually of the Buddhism. The concept of letting our prayers be carried on the wind at this time seems like the most hopeful thing we can do. I spoke to my father about it when I was making it. He reminded me that the teachings of Buddhists are about taking responsibility for your actions. When I ran across the image I used, I felt it would strongly convey the gravity of protecting ourselves. And then the saying was found, and well- wa la. The flags are mixed media– cotton fabric, acrylics and hemp cord. I hung it on my landlord’s porch and they asked me to take it down and told me not to hang it out the window. So I then took shots of it on my neighbors gate just to put that good karma there, but it is now living catching breezes through a window in my bedroom. I am so happy to be a part of this exhibition. We need some positivity!

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Nanette Reynolds Beachner 73


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Nanette Reynolds Beachner


Nanette Reynolds Beachner

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Patricia Dahlman Lyndhurst, NJ

During this sad and unfortunately dangerous time of corona virus, it was uplifting to join others that were making positive statements in the form of a prayer flag. The banner is made with paper and fabric that has cut out words and plant imagery. The banner is hung in a front window of our home and was made to join the children and adults that have put art work and signs in their windows to send out love and hope and to thank the first responders. I haven’t had any feedback yet, but I think I am communicating my message. Thank you for organizing this. This helps bring the community together in a positive way during this time.

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Patricia Dahlman

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Rebecca Penner California

With so much negativity surrounding us all during this time, I was excited to see this open call that encourages positivity, and not just positivity within ourselves as artists but in communities as well by sharing these prayer flags with those in our neighborhoods and those passing by. The current conditions have pushed my art-making into new directions. Without access to my studio, large-scale painting has become nearly impossible and while that has been frustrating it has also encouraged me to seriously reconsider my art practice. Knitting has always been something that I’ve turned to during times of difficulty. I never saw it as something that could become part of my art practice, though over these past few months I’ve found ways to essentially make ‘paintings’ in this medium - exploring the essence of knitting and finding ways that I could both adhere to the restrictions it presents and challenge them. Knitted material is inherently comforting; it clothes us and keeps us warm and has for centuries. This warm quality ingrained in the medium, in conjunction with my use of bright colors and playful geometric shapes, works to create something both comforting and uplifting for the community to enjoy. I threaded yarn through my knitted pieces to hang them from my balcony. I have not yet received feedback from my neighbors, as everyone is keeping to themselves during this time, but I hope that these have brought some color to our otherwise very quiet street. Thank you Drawing Rooms for creating this opportunity and encouraging artists around the world to spread positivity in their communities and now all of our communities, as well, by sharing these online.

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Rebecca Penner

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Snow Mack Santa Monica, CA

The positive impact of prayer is the powerful concept that drew me to this project. I created 2 strands with prayer flags from my World Peace Buddha series. The imagery is a line drawing of Buddha with the map of the World set to different locations within each piece. One flag from each Prayer Flag strand features a Metta Prayer, a Buddhist Prayer for Loving Kindness. My intention is to bring healing energy to our collective consciousness. The location I chose to hang my prayer flags is the 24 Hour Fitness in my neighborhood where I am also a member. This club location is more than a gym; it serves as a meeting place for the surrounding community. Many retired people use the club to socialize first, and exercise second. My friend, a trainer who works at 24 Hour Fitness, says the same retired people are at the gym every day. The gym was always bustling with energy, packed with people both members and trainers, and the parking lot full to capacity. While my daughter and I were installing and photographing the Prayer Flags, several people drove by to ask if the gym was open. One father and daughter, riding bikes, asked if a special event was being held there when they saw the flags. The sign on the door announcing the closure promises to be opened again on April 1st, now it is 6 weeks past this optimistic date. I will continue to find locations to install and display the prayer flags, the positive reward for sharing the work reminds me why I create. World Peace Buddha is a visual representation of the concern I feel for the safety of all humankind and our planet.

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Snow Mack

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Snow Mack


Snow Mack

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Sunny Chapman Hancock, NY

I wanted to participate in this project out of the desire to do something positive in the face of this nightmarish pandemic. The materials are red marker on a blank white cotton Tibetan prayer flag. As soon as I heard about this show, I ordered the prayer flag, I knew that’s what I wanted to work on. I hung it in front of my studio windows, on a porch where it’s somewhat protected as we still have wild early spring storms up here. A few weeks ago I found myself wanting to make nothing but red marks on white paper-red ink, red paint, pens, pencils. I think the red and white is both a distress symbol and a sign of comfort, memories of Red Cross flags and nurses uniforms from my childhood. Coincidentally, in Tibetan Buddhism white is the color of knowledge, red is life force– both things we can use more of in this moment. I really love this whole project, am thrilled to be part of it and can’t wait to see the work of other artists. Thank you so much for putting this together.

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Sunny Chapman 85


Yunzi Liu New York City

This pandemic started from my country, and I have been through the panic among friends, deaths of their beloved families, and depression of helplessness. Now I am living in New York, and I have been quarantined at home for almost 70 days. Every sunny afternoon I sat by the windowsill to get some sunshine. Sometimes I saw healthcare workers walking by, and I desired to show my gratitude to them and encourage them. Participating in Prayers for the Pandemic project is exactly the opportunity to express my feelings and wishes. I have to join. As a graphic designer, I chose to print illustrations on paper and make paper flags. I drew digital icons: praying hands, protecting the earth, caducous, candles, tree of life, and printed on color papers. I hang those flags in front of my apartment building, so when health workers pass by, they will see them at first sight. These illustrated icons show my best wishes to the healthcare workers and all the people who suffer from the pandemic physically and mentally, as well as the idea of we all taking responsibility for protecting the earth. The paper flags cannot last long in rainy and windy days. I was suggested to seal them in transparent contact papers.

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Yunzi Liu 87


Yunzi Liu 88


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 May 2020 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.

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Profile for Victory Hall Press

Prayers for the Pandemic: Volume One/May 25, 2020  

Prayers for the Pandemic is an ongoing public art project happening across the US, produced by Drawing Rooms, Jersey City, NJ. Prayers for...

Prayers for the Pandemic: Volume One/May 25, 2020  

Prayers for the Pandemic is an ongoing public art project happening across the US, produced by Drawing Rooms, Jersey City, NJ. Prayers for...

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