Huntsville-based artist personifies pandemic through work

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – We’ve all found different ways to cope with the hardships surrounding the pandemic for the past year, and for one local artist, her way is to create a piece that documents this moment in history.

“I choose vibrant colors to show how this explosion happened,” artist Kathy Chan said.

Her piece, titled “COVID-19” is hanging in the Little Green Store and Gallery as part of an exhibit by former Space and Rocket Center CEO, Dr. Deborah Barnhart.

“Art is timeless and it’s also a recording of our history and so I thought it was great that she did something so timely,” Barnhart said.

Chan is internationally known for her career in jewelry design but uses all mediums to interpret events we’re all experiencing in real-time.

“I record history either on canvas or with beautiful gemstones,” Chan said. “I had to form an idea especially for this because it’s very difficult to represent what I felt inside and put it on the canvas.”

She said this project evolved as the virus did, even adding her interpretation of the virus variants and “y-shaped” proteins produced by the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There are many many many “Y’s” representing the antibodies,” Chan said.

Then adding a second, smaller painting, symbolizing the pandemic’s end, when the world seems a little smaller too; all of us getting back to our own lives, but connected by a common thread.

“I see goodness in bad things. Something bad can happen but it brings out the goodness in people,” she said.

Chan said making sense of events like the pandemic through her craft lifts a weight off of her shoulders. She hopes the paintings can offer this same sense of relief to others.

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