Final October, St. Petersburg, Florida, artist Margaret Bayalis, feeling burned out by the pandemic, was grappling with how to reply to it visually.
She got here up with the thought to supply free painted portraits of people that died from COVID-19 to their family members. She reached out on the social media app Subsequent Door and instantly acquired a couple of requests.
Quickly, phrase unfold and he or she was getting queries from so far as Hawaii, Portugal and India.
“I by no means dreamed it might go up to now once I began” Bayalis mentioned.
So far, she’s created greater than 50 portraits. Alongside the best way, she created a collage of them.
“The numbers are upsetting,” she mentioned. “Once I have a look at my collage, it looks as if so many, but it surely’s a drop within the bucket in comparison with the numbers even in Florida. It’s overwhelming.”
Primarily a panorama painter, switching to portraiture was a “journey” that helped her decide up a brand new approach.
In January, she began a Fb group referred to as Faces Not Numbers and invited different artists to hitch her mission. To date, greater than 20 artists have joined and the web page has 200 members.
The group’s mission is to “use the therapeutic energy of artwork to create memorial portraits, freed from cost, of people misplaced to COVID-19 in an effort to consolation households and lift consciousness of the pandemic’s toll on life.”
Bayalis has made connections with the individuals who she’s given portraits to. She mentioned that whereas she paints the topics, she appears like she’s spending time with them and “honoring the lives they led.”
Pamela Davis of St. Petersburg reached out to Bayalis after seeing the Fb group. She misplaced her brother, Gary Joseph Eccher, in January. Bayalis supplied to do a portrait of him and labored from his prayer card.
“She captured each side of his options, even the darkish circles underneath his eyes,” Davis mentioned. She broke down when she first noticed it and referred to as Bayalis a “great lady.”
Davis appears on the tribute day-after-day and has been sharing it on social media to indicate that “he’s a face, not a quantity.”
For Bayalis, the mission has helped her deal with the pandemic and allowed her to work together with extra individuals than ever.
“By way of being rewarding, there’s no strategy to measure it,” she mentioned. “It’s been an actual good reciprocal factor.”
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©2021 Tampa Bay Occasions. Go to at tampabay.com. Distributed by Tribune Content material Company, LLC.