Ever since Mayor Jerry Demings put Orange County on lockdown (at 11 p.m. Thursday, March 26, 2020, not that we’re crossing off the days on a calendar or anything), it’s safe to say that we’re all a little stir-crazy. There’s only so much TV a person can watch, so much takeout you can order. And it’s not about boredom – anyone with an ounce of sensitivity is being driven slowly insane by fear for their fellow humans.
“I was inspired to draw [a] nurse by posts that I was seeing on social media and the news, discussing the new everyday struggles and dangers that healthcare workers are facing,” says Parker, the mononymous artist and co-owner of Orlando’s Redefine Gallery. “How they’re continuing to work and find creative solutions to fight this coronavirus, despite their industry not being adequately prepared to provide ideal safe working conditions.”
Parker’s “United in the fight” shows a battle-ready nurse with full personal protective equipment – gloves, mask, face shield – a medical soldier on the front lines. Her resolute stance bespeaks a steady courage; she’s a 21st-century Rosie the Riveter on the front lines of a new war, firm in the fight to protect us all.
Parker acknowledges that he uses his artwork as his voice, and this was his way to support small businesses and inspire other artists. But when he looked around, he realized he wasn’t alone in his response.
“I started seeing other artists posting amazing pieces created with the same intention, and was super impressed with the amount of quality work that had already been created in a short period of time,” he says.
He and the other Redefine owner-curators, Peter van Flores and Mauricio Murillo, decided to launch Stay Home & Make Art, a virtual art show for these quarantined times. Artists and art lovers alike are frustrated by the lack of a traditional outlet, but on Thursday – notably, the third Thursday in April – Redefine Gallery is giving us a virtual one.
Artists have been flocking to the Redefine Instagram feed, hashtagging their work #redefinecovidart. And on Thursday, the work will be displayed on redefinegallery.com, staying up through the end of the month.
We can’t head downtown for 3rd Thursday. But we can still enjoy the work of so many Orlando artists in Stay Home & Make Art. Parker’s description of “United in the fight” is an apt one for the show as a whole: a symbol of solidarity with everyone in their personal fight, staying isolated, making sacrifices to stop this virus.
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