PEI

P.E.I. front-line workers honoured in new artwork

P.E.I. artist Dale McNevin created a new work of art paying tribute to front-line workers during the pandemic, and is now donating posters of it to facilities across the Island. "It's a big thank you card," she says.

'They're ordinary people, they're doing extraordinary things, just keeping people well'

Island artist Dale McNevin's painting, titled Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant. (Submitted by Dale McNevin)

P.E.I. artist Dale McNevin created a new work of art paying tribute to front-line workers during the pandemic, and is now donating copies of it to facilities across the Island.

"It's a big thank you card," she told Mainstreet P.E.I. host Matt Rainnie. 

The art is a poster in McNevin's unmistakable style: a collage full of colour and detailed faces. It depicts front-line workers in health care and policing during the COVID-19 pandemic as angels, with wings. McNevin included doctors, nurses, all kinds of health-care staff, paramedics, police officers and firefighters.

Their faces are masked, but McNevin said "I'd like to think that the eyes have it — I had to do most of my stuff with the eyes." 

"They're ordinary people, they're doing extraordinary things, just keeping people well," she said. 

McNevin did the artwork for the topless "Anne" T-shirts that regained popularity this summer, as well as many publications over the years including David Weale's The True Meaning of Crumbfest.

'They're also human'

She said she was inspired to do the painting when she saw the drive-by of first responders to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the spring. Then, she began to notice signs on people's lawns to thank first responders. 

My biggest goal is, I'd love to see it in the hospitals and in the manors.— Dale McNevin

"I thought we need something big, because there's so many people involved," she said. 

She titled her painting Well Done, My Good and Faithful Servant, a phrase from the Bible. 

"What they're doing is almost like the Lord's work. They do the hardest job," she said. "There's so much to this COVID. They are truly front line. But they're also human." 

To illustrate that humanity, McNevin shows one worker holding another's arm and offering her a cup of tea. 

At the bottom of the painting, there's one small white flower McNevin said is "the hope that keeps us going." 

'You could look at it for quite a while' 

McNevin has been selling the posters of her original artwork, and has been donating them as well, hand-delivering them to hospitals and care homes herself, even though she doesn't drive.

McNevin is selling copies of her artwork so she can donate some to health-care facilities and first responders on P.E.I. (Angela Walker/CBC)

"My biggest goal is, I'd love to see it in the hospitals and in the manors. It's made so you could look at it for quite a while and not see everything, and you'd find things different times. So if you're waiting in a lobby or you're waiting in a doctor's office, it's there to look at," she said. She'd also like to see it in P.E.I. fire houses.

A friend has taken her to hand out the posters in some facilities in western P.E.I. and Summerside, she said, and she's also taken some to the QEH and the palliative care centre in Charlottetown.

"I'd love to see it out there," she said. "I have the bills paid for this, and whatever comes in is going to make some more, as long as I need them or people want them.

"It just brings it all home that we're all in this one big thing together."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.

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