From Mayanthi Jayawardena -
First and foremost, thank you so much for this opportunity. I am a local artist who moved to Raleigh from Charlotte at the beginning of the year to start a new life diving fully into art. I had left my full time job as Director of Program Development at Girls on the Run International to pursue my calling. I knew Raleigh was the city for me.
Unfortunately, just as I was starting to get into the swing of things as a full-time artist, COVID-19 swept the world. I consider myself very fortunate that I have a roof over my head and food on my table so I will not spend too much time talking about my personal experiences during this time. Gratitude has been my focus. My loved ones are safe, for now.
I say "for now" because the inspiration of these pieces came from the knowledge of my family members being on the frontlines in the hospital. My father and brother are both doctors. My brother lives and works in Boston working to save COVID patients. He has described the horrors that he has seen and the impossible feat he is expected to tackle each day all the while putting his life on the line. Furthermore, he comes home every day to a beautiful one year old daughter and a wonderful wife due with their second child any day now. The risks are immense.
I created Breath While Broken to symbolize the broken health care system, lack of supplies, and the impacts on both the patients and the health care workers. I created Breath of Hope to symbolize the incredible beauty of all of the health care workers and the life they are bringing back to COVID patients. Furthermore it symbolizes the positivity and strength that is getting everyone through. After all, even without proper protective gear, hope, positivity and strength are all they have.
Thank you for your consideration of my art! While being an artist has been challenging during these times, it has also been incredibly heartwarming to see our communities come together! I have hope and I will continue to try to create art that is impactful.