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Pandemic-Inspired Art on Display at Waterbury Hospital


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Connecticut student Tiffany Nguyen captivated peers and staff at Naugatuck High School (NHS) with her artwork illustrating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nurses, and now it’s on display at Waterbury Hospital.

“Tiffany’s paintings struck our hearts here at NHS for their emphatic, relevant content and technical expertise,” said her art teacher Hama Pertab. “Her paintings show detail, evidence of research, planning, and investigation on the emotional impact of the pandemic on the essential workers―nurses.”

Nguyen earned the highest score for her Advanced Placement Drawing portfolio series, “Impact of the Pandemic on Nurses,” for outstanding use of materials, including paint and techniques, and visual presentation of ideas. Her 15-piece exhibit will be displayed in the hospital’s main floor art corridor through January.

“In times of crisis, which can occur at any moment, nurses are the first line of defense. They sometimes have to give up their life and well-being to ensure the care for others is provided first,” Nguyen said. “It’s no guarantee when they are able to receive breaks or when they are able to stop. It’s physically draining to work for long hours and it’s also mentally exhausting to see so many tragedies. They have to go through so much effort and countless days without any sleep, so those who were impacted are able to heal and survive.”

Waterbury HEALTH Director of Communications and Marketing Lauresha Xhihani said the pandemic has been a great challenge for healthcare workers and these paintings captured their resilience. “Even as the artwork was being hung, our colleagues would stop by to comment on how moving the work is and how they saw themselves reflected in each painting,” Xhihani said.

“It’s amazing. Everybody has been commenting on them,” Patient Transport Associate Traci Farina said. “It’s so real. We all stop and just look at them. She does an amazing job.”

“(Nguyen) shows us that healthcare workers, too, have their moments of struggle,” Pertab said. “Her work echoes that we are all really in this together―the stress, the pressure, the isolation, the need for support, etc.”

Xhihani said Nguyen’s artwork is impactful and lifelike.

“It seems like she was inside the building during the worst of times and captured the incredible resilience and caring of our nurses and colleagues,” Xhihani said.

Nguyen, who plans to be a physician, said she admires nurses and anyone else working in the medical field. “Not enough can be represented through portraits, however,” she said. “I wish those who see my artwork can understand just how much devotion and hardship these heroes and heroines have to undergo.”