Covid-19 Portraits III

Welcome to our third and final installment of our Covid-19 Portrait show.

In case you missed them, here are the first and second installments.

Viewers and press have been quick to show their interest in the project. The first installment was featured on CBC radio and in the Globe and Mail. During the second installment, we a got a write-up in the Toronto Star, June 7th, 2020 issue:

Everyone has their own experience and story to tell. Even after extending the show to three installments we are only able to show a sub-set of the total response.

We’d like to thank all of the artists from around the world who submitted work – we received far more than we expected!

And we’d like to thank you for visiting and taking a look!

“Starving For Love”  It explores the idea that simple gestures of love, affection & comfort have now become luxuries.

Emily Bright

“Social Distancing – Really?”,  depicts one of our dogs – Manchas, a small, but very feisty rescue dog from Costa Rica, who doesn’t think much of physical distancing and never misses a chance to give you a licky kiss! During this time of isolation with my partner working in an ER, we are taking extra measures at home to avoid accidental transmission of the virus, which involves sleeping in different rooms, using separate bathrooms and not exchanging hugs or kisses. Missing the physical contact with my husband, it is a relief to have furry companions that are always happy to go for a walk, constantly demanding belly rubs, curling up on one’s lap and expressing unconditional love.

Larissa Mattwich

The subject is my brother who was having his hair cut outside on the porch.  The process was certainly a new experience and took a lot longer than a professional haircut.  I am self-isolating with my family just north of Toronto due to Covid-19.  Hair cutting is one of many new skills we have endeavoured to learn! 

Doris Rose

The image depicts the fear induced by a pandemic situation for an at-risk individual living with a chronic illness. In a normal situation, chronically ill patients already struggle with medical staff and procedures just to get adequate and timely treatment. The pandemic has worsened this struggle and added another notion to this long journey: “The fear of not having a diagnosis or a treatment before it’s too late”.

Naghmeh Ghasem Zadeh

“Orchidée”  For the last few months, due to Covid-19, we have been forced inside. In person romance and dates have been replaced entirely with online romance through dating apps. As a gay man and queer artist, the selfie picture has always been of great interest and fascination for me. In these very strange and lonely times, they have become the only way to share a certain visual intimacy. These have become my subject of choice.

Ian Stone

I hope for enlightening of whole world about the cause of the recent pandemic: not being a unity; in contrast to a tree that through unity can be alive and grow.

Zahra Tavassoli

“Little Rainbow” The Covid 19 Pandemic has brought many distressed feelings to Mexico we have been in quarantine for 60 days so far.  In my house I can see time and light passing all day long, I can trace it’s paths on the floor and on the walls. Every morning I can see a little rainbow projected, light dissolved in time that later disappears, I’ve tried to catch it up many times.

Mariana Barreiro – Mexico

This Covid 19 portrait is of Fitz (my chicken). She is fed drone (male) brood from my honey bee hives. All summer, I regularly (every few weeks) collect the drone comb brood (larva and pupa) as a way to deal with verroa mites. Verroa mites are a parasitic nightmare for honey bees. Unchecked, they will weaken a honey bees colony to the point of collapse. They cause the bees to be susceptible to viruses and disrupts their ability to function as eusocial creatures. There is a major debate in the beekeeping world on how to deal with these mites. Chemical solutions have been developed, but they have led to depends. Others advocate breeding more hygienic bees that can deal with the mites better in time. This is taking many generations (and decades). To do this mites are left in the hive, but not let get out of control (keeping a flattened curve). By sample testing the bee colonies regularly, evidence-based decisions can be made. With low mite levels, the colony can co-exist with them and in time they will evolve better hygienic traits. To do this, drones comb is regularly removed (where mite prefer to reproduce). The drone comb and mites are removed and given to Fritz. She converts this energy into over 200 eggs a year, more then her entire body weight. These eggs feed me and my family. By taking a problem, understanding it, sometimes we are able to make a negative into a positive. In relation to Covid 19, there are too many negatives to count, but governments and world bodies that are making evidence-based decisions for sustainable long term goals are and will achieve better outcomes. Relying on outdated modes of animal suffering, exploited labour and environmental rape can not last for ever. Fritz is more then a chicken, more then an egg laying machine, she is a positive made from a negative, she is life made from death.

Joseph Farrugia

I am Maryam (Sora) Kheiry.  I’m from Iran and live in Toronto. This is a my painting. Collage & Acrylic on Paper

Sora Kheiry

An unfortunate turn of events just prior to lockdown forced me to put the majority of my belongings into storage and seek out a short term rental, fast. I turned to Airbnb and found the one and only affordable spot that allowed me to bring my dog, Fuzz, with me. I found myself in a basement apartment packed full of outdated furniture in the community of Wychwood in Aylmer, Quebec. I isolated here in a completely new dwelling surrounded by things that were not my own. Oddly enough, I have thrived. It is equally exciting and terrifying to be out of sorts, to be mobile with few belongings, to be in a new space, to be quarantined, to be alone, to be unemployed, to be uncertain of the future and what it holds, to consider new things, and to be good with oneself, to feel good about oneself.  I was originally going to be in the picture but it became more about my companion and the environment I landed in to self-isolate. It’s also about the possibility of trying on a new skin and changing the way things are.

Meredith Snider

The image is of my cat Mistletoe, Misty for short.  He is usually a grumpy, stand-offish 11 year old boy who only comes to us when he needs or wants something like food or to go outside.  Since my partner, my daughter and I, have been home 24/7 with him during isolation, he has become a different cat.  He searches us out, looking for affection and most remarkably, giving affection on a regular basis, as if he knows that the quality of our relationships will help us get through this extraordinary time .  The change in his demeanour has been a reminder to be kind to one another during this time and to treasure this time together as a family. Here, he has followed me on my daily search for swatches of beautiful light in our home, patiently waiting for me to finish my work, so he can get a pat.  

Margit Koivisto

In these days, when our lives were so cryptically interrupted, I found myself thinking more of my daughter than of myself. Pictured is her ceramic portrait covered with a mask depicting a rowing-boat on a calm and beautiful sunny summer morning. Will our children be able to row a boat on a serene and tranquil morning ever again?  What the future holds in store for them? What is rolling behind the hill? Is the innocence lost forever? What have we done to this world? And why?


For the first 50 days of the lockdown, my wife and I engaged in a daily fashion challenge on Instagram, pulling things together from around the house to cobble together a series of vignettes that entertained our close friends and colleagues. The sudden and seismic shift prompted me to pull out of my comfortable graphic designer role into one that was a bit more performative – with the underlying feeling of ‘If not now, when?’. This one is from day 43, captioned ‘The Dung Beetle: Same Shit, different day.’ The video loop that accompanied it on Instagram pretty much summed up the pervading mood – much to the delight of those who saw it. This post can be seen at

Randal Boutilier

I’m painting my way through this surreal time with a smile on my face and some grey in my hair!

Lisa Litowitz

“Mask” The Covid-19 pandemic has changed a lot about our perception of self. We self-distance, wear masks, minimize social interactions. At the same time our lives are even more visible either on social media or because of almost exclusive use of bank cards, or possible contact tracing and other technology. What will be the consequences of all this? As we disappear into ever smaller cocoons of self, are we becoming more visible? We can wear a mask as a protection against the virus but what kind of barrier is there for the loss of privacy?

Atia Pokorny

Magical Thinking

Claudette Abrams

Red Cushion  – Former eyes have been replaced, and the curtain pulled back on the inequities that we didn’t fully see before. Newsfeeds are full of surreal death sand devastating condolences. Different eyes; metallic and shiny. Eyes that no longer know how to ‘look to our future” for hope and possibilities. Our Instagram lives and our vitriolic materialism now laid bare. We are left to self reflect, face ourselves, slow down, and toss and turn at night with vivid crackling dreams alive with messages screaming from our subconscious. We thought we were separate from nature, but now we know we are one. Sequestered in our homes, our minds begin to change, fracture with confusion. We float in a sea of unknowns, covering our faces with psychological and real masks. In a sparkly shiny isolated dreamy space — how will we prophesize our new future and manifest in a new uncertain one?  I have been selling these collages for a donation to The Stop food Community food bank in Parkdale.

Ilene Sova

“Madonna and child” For me, the artwork, inspired by a Catholic upbringing, is about guilt, original sin and vulnerability. But at the same time the work can from our current perspective also be interpreted as the processing of and response to the precarious period that we are going through. Does the work deal with both human vulnerability and that of the art itself. The defenceless artwork is shielded, and simultaneously converted into an analogue pixel. In this way, the artwork resonates on several layers of meaning, both on the state of man and on the state of museums.

Roberto Voorbij – The Netherlands

This portrait is of Stephen, he works at the wastewater treatment plant where, for more than a month into the pandemic, staff had no proper masks. There is a concern the virus could be carried in feces, as his mother I had a huge concern. At the start of isolation I began making daily portraits of family and friends. Each day someone would send me pic from their phone and trying to make their likeness calmed me down.  This portrait is made from a photo he took at work.

Gerry Withey

“Conversation with God” A daily journal of thoughts and emotions layered onto a canvas. Finding peace and the mystical to break through the confines of quarantine, loss of control, the fear of death. Painting became the transcendent experience from the physical to the spiritual freedom. No fear. Love always. Paint on. 


I believe Covid-19 has aroused a total and continuous state of fear in us. Fear of the many unknowns.

Dahlia Sawwan

Covid 19 has separated children from socialization and interactions that they need to socially grow and develop. They are hopeful that the world as they know it will return to them someday.  In this rapidly changing world, we have realized how much we need each other and long to have the opportunity to share love and joy with one another.  More than ever, we look forward to connecting with people and being able to feel the energy that exists in sharing emotions together.

Elisa Cahill

During this pandemic I’ve been either online or in line. This is a hand painted self portrait that reflects both. Stay safe!

Braden Cote

The facemask is the emblem of a pandemic and raises so many questions. It protects me from the virus, and the sun. It is my accessory du jour.

Marlene Etherington

Quarantine days are a good opportunity to produce artwork with my daughter (Sayeh)

Shafagh Azhandeh

The square grid is inspired by all the zoom calls, lines representing social distancing rules marked on the streets, browns for lots of coffee, white and yellow dots for snow flakes in spring, card suit symbols for games/bridge, darks and light for changing moods with bursts of colour for hope all mixing together in the centre for the unknown of what lies ahead. So let’s just keep painting! 

Bethany Harper Williams

Sketched yesterday while anxiously sitting in a car after my elderly mother had been admitted to Emergency with pressure in her chest. Not allowed in, waiting for word.   Good ending: She is OK and home now.

Wendy Robertson

“Portrait” is one of the drawings that I finished during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic gave me the time I always needed to go through my to-create list. Drawing portraits on geometric cut out of cardboard were on my list; so, instead of getting annoyed with doing nothing at home, I just started to cut and draw! In other words, “Portrait” is my way to escape the pandemic and enjoy my days at home.

Nima Arabi

This is an image of how I feel during the pandemic. The total global surrender to the  unexpected arrival of a deadly pathogen, self isolation, sense of loss, daily doomscrolling of the horrifying spread of the virus  and also the  remarkable courage of all front line workers.

Anupa Perera

‘Self-Portrait – Exposed’. It is in many ways a metaphor for the situation I and so many others find ourselves in. Naked, isolated, muzzled, apprehensive, finding somehow the strength to go on, one day at a time.


My image is a portrait of how many of us feel during this pandemic – there is no face because it can be anyone. Anyone who feels a little lost or does not know what to do. These quarantine times have been a bit of a blur for me and I don’t know where I will be when I come out of it. Everything is still a little unknown.

Rachel Brandrick

“Waiting to Exhale” This image reflects upon my melancholy that is surrounding Covid. Will a mask be the norm for just hanging out? When can we exhale?

Janna Robins Walters  

An oil painting, painted on one of my son’s wooden toys. No swimming allowed and no working. Playing in the snow and drinking wine. Isolating.

Jónína Björg Helgadóttir  – Iceland

Although these are dire and profoundly disquieting times we are living in I don’t really feel my work has changed significantly. My approach to photography is simple: People, places and things are what I shoot, memory, imagination and wonder are how. I am informed and motivated by the great Robert Doisneau who once said “My photographs are all self-portraits, done with compassion and a bit of mockery and the secret hope of setting the established order of things slightly askew”. Both my approach and Monsieur Doisneau’s self-understanding are essentially about connection which I can only hope will prove beneficial in trying to photograph and maybe even come to grips with our new reality of an essential crisis-mandated isolation.

Brian Deignan

Our doors are all closed but inside there lies the time and space to discover and reflect on who we are and what we want to be.


“Multiplicity” During the pandemic, I have been feeling trapped and alone. Even though I am supported, the fact is as an artist that photographs people, my own work has been almost halted entirely. So I created this image to express my feelings. There is not much we can do at this time but pass the time and that has left me quite vulnerable.

Khristel Stecher

‘Bible Paper Thin’  The piece explores sibling relationships- I have not seen my sister during covid-19 and it has forced me to reflect on our relationship. I miss her greatly.

Bella Vita

This painting is not meant to be morbid, but to represent a feeling of overwhelm, stress, and anxiety. Feelings that are extremely relevant at this time. I make paintings about these feelings not to dwell on them, but to get them out and give them a physical form. Pulling these feelings out of the abstract, and into a place where they can be confronted head on.

Kelly Rose Adams

Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming, but we know that they won’t stay. Everyone is riding the waves of emotions through this challenging, Covid-19, situation. This portrait embraces human emotions, revealing a vulnerable character that is seeking attention. She doesn’t shy away from sadness, pain, fear and uncertainty, because she knows that others feel the same emotions too.

Yasaman Mehrsa

“Masked observer”  In these days I am watching the world go by while wearing my mask.


I am looking inward. Feeling sad and lonely. Worried about the future.When will this be over? Will life resume? What will it look like?

Marie Finkelstein

I wanted to paint something simple that everybody can connect to in the current situation. With the covid-19 being spread around the world, more and more people find it hard to keep up with time and energy. Sleeping and resting begins to take a large part of our lives.

Grace Qian

In a moment when frameworks of relationships are at once prominently visible and exhaustively hidden, this image from the series references René Magritte, the Belgian surrealist painter. 

Mike Callaghan

“The Sorrowing Angel”  The subject is one of a pair of C17 statues in the Boston Museum of Fine Art  Zadkeil “Righteousness of God”; archangel of freedom, benevolence, mercy, and the Patron Angel of all who forgive  appropriate for our times

Jacqueline Treloar

This is Emmanuel Krikonas working in the front lines as a cleaner sanitizing food warehouses. So people can go to work and have food.

Mediro Medical Supplies 






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