Post-Pandemic Paintings

Freshman Ina Rhee expresses her feelings toward COVID-19


Photo Courtesy of Donna Dolby

Rhee’s art will be on display at the New Jersey Department of Education building in Trenton.

Freshman Ina Rhee has always expressed herself and her perspective of the world through her unique artwork. But when COVID-19 hit, it opened a new door of creativity for Rhee: hopeful art. 

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and Art Educators of New Jersey offered students the opportunity to share artwork to the Hope, Healing, and Resilience Through the COVID-19 Pandemic Art Showcase & Installation Project. Students submitted original two-dimensional work between October 27, 2021 and March 31, 2022 that embodied the messages of the showcase.

Rhee’s art submission focused on society emerging from the pandemic as a stronger and more united force. Rhee said that the intended message of the artwork was to display the idea that “even though the pandemic is getting better, people still need to…put in the work to move on from the pain and chaos.” She also wanted to honor those who contributed their time throughout the pandemic by illustrating a doctor who was intended to represent the many health workers globally.

Rhee also used her art to convey her negative feelings toward the many tragedies of the pandemic. She utilized the various aspects of art, including color, shading, and lighting to show “the growing deaths, new variants, and the Asian hate crimes popping up.” 

Donna Dolby, Rhee’s art teacher, was captivated by her artwork in class and decided to present her with the opportunity to submit her artwork to the showcase. Dolby said that the piece “ moved [her]…it was a visual representation of people taking it upon themselves to spread the messages of peace, hope, and love.”

Despite displaying both the positive and negative sides of the pandemic, her overall wish is that her artwork allows others to view COVID-19 through a more optimistic lens.

Rhee wants “everyone [to do] their part and make sure the pandemic goes away for good.” The selected artwork will be exhibited throughout the NJDOE building in Trenton and possibly on a digital platform later in the year.