Alumni Coronavirus-inspired Exhibition

Mercury Dougherty A.O.C.A. (1991), Sculpture / Installation
Always Wait 5 1 / 2 Hours – Mixed-Media Painting – acrylics, oil pastels, wood, birch bark, crystals, feathers, glitter glue on stretched canvas, 20 " X 22 "

“During this Covid-19 experience, I've chosen faith over fear. Instead of harping over isolation, I rejoined the "WHOVIAN" universe!  This is worldwide watch-a-long and live tweeting for specific episodes of Doctor Who. This piece was Inspired by S02E04.”

Lindsay Jeevar-Grater (1981), Fine Arts
Breaking Now 2020 - graphite pencils 2H to 9B, 16.5” x 12”

“There’s been a crackle in the air for quite some time…the natural systems have been pushed too far and something was bound to snap. That unrest seeps into our minds - in spring, my thoughts would usually turn to painting a bright and colourful composition of flowers. Instead, I came up with this pencil drawing, Breaking Now shows a monochromatic, chaotic world with no real focus, scale or order, just roiling and shifting. Danger comes in many guises and sizes and we've been shaken into being reminded that the smallest things can cause the biggest trouble!”

Amy Lee (2017), Drawing and Painting
Stay at Home – Pencil crayon and ink on a sheet of toilet paper mounted on a sheet of paper towel, 8.5" x 11"

“In these hard times, to stay safe I must stay at home, only going out to get the basic essentials. These are hard times where many store shelves are empty, and even toilet paper are considered precious items.  Everyday life is now changed. Staying at home everyday can get lonely and my mental well being takes a toll. Some days I don’t have the motivation to get out of bed. Though, I am able to get through these times because I have my cat, Angel to keep me company. Angel helps to motivate me to get out of bed.”

Michelle Su (2019), Graphic Design
Stay Home

“It’s that simple. It saves lives. It helps stop the spread. This battle shouldn’t just be for frontline workers, we all have a part to do too. If we all contribute, we will get through this. Learn something new, catch up with friends and family, but please practice physical distancing. We can do this. Remember to stay positive, stay inspired, stay loving. Spread love, not the virus.”

Anson Liaw (1989), Design Advertising in Communication & Design
Easter Heroes (version 2), pencil, ink and digital, 12” x 17”

"A version 2 Easter 2020 holiday illustration created with a special grateful thank you to all the brave healthcare and essential front line workers who risked their lives daily during the COVID-19 pandemic and crisis to save as many lives as they possibly could, keep everyone safe and while everyone else around the world within their respective communities continued to do their part to stay home to save lives and keep everyone around them safe."

Anson Liaw (1989), Design Advertising in Communication & Design
All Washed Up (version 7), pencil, ink and digital, 17” x 12”

“This illustration is entitled All Washed Up (version 7) which analyzes how we are experiencing a real-life nightmare as everyone in the world is challenged like never before to be united to fight together to win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic with the diligent practice of physical distancing and hand-washing but unfortunately, at the same time suffer the complicated worldwide political ramifications and uncertainty caused by how governments cope with fighting and surviving this horrifying pandemic which may possibly and unfortunately, steer and force everyone toward the practice of global distancing and overall, the world as everyone once knew will never ever be the same again and to experience and suffer a great sense of loss for many years to come into the future.”

Nickolas Hadzis (1985), Fine Arts (Painting, Drawing & Sculpture)
Dragon's Tail - oil painting on canvas - 4ft. by 3ft.

Nickolas Hadzis (1985), Fine Arts (Painting, Drawing & Sculpture)
Blue Dream - oil painting on canvas - 4ft. by 3ft.

“I started painting this in my Studio down at the Historic Distillery District in February March and took it home to complete when I went into isolation on March 19th and just finished it recently. It's the uncertainty the suppressed feelings that are coming up being in isolation, not being distracted from travelling and interacting with too many people.  It's the airwaves in the air from now being so much more on social media and relying more on technology to communicate and interact.”

Phuong Nguyen (2014) Drawing and Painting
Grocery Shopping With My Sister, coloured pencil on paper, 7.5” x 6"

“This images were drawn from a photo and a screenshot I took while in quarantine.  This is an image of my sister while we were going on a grocery run for my older parents.

At the time the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto was increasing and life was feeling strange- and still does. The shift in lifestyle, the unfathomable death toll, and the heavy cloud of uncertainty that hangs over us had us feeling some type of way. For me it was surreal, dreamlike, and so far from the normal it felt literally unreal and numbing. In an attempt to ground myself and accept that this is the state of the world we live in, I wanted to depict the surreal-like quality of life during the spread of COVID-19 by drawing something from reality and how strange this reality really is.”

Sarah Zanchetta (2018) Drawing and Painting
Are you still watching? - Second-hand fabrics and embroidery thread - 3’x 4’

“I am a textile artist based in Toronto. My practice usually focuses on exposing the hidden rituals within the everyday female routine, but due to COVID-19, it has shifted to explore the experience of quarantine. This quilt I included is part of a series of quarantine quilts where I explore the connection between communication and comfort during these difficult times.”

Gretchen Jeens Drawing and Painting (2009)
Scream - W/C and graphite on layered Japanese rice paper - 18” x 18.5”

“When we were told to self-isolate on March 15, we thought it would be for two weeks. Although I was nervous and apprehensive about what was happening, I was happy for the opportunity to have some time to focus on my artwork. After seven weeks though, I still had not picked up a pencil or a paint brush. I just could not focus on anything other than what was happening to our world. Finally, in a sudden moment of creativity, I drew and painted this image in less than two hours, expressing all the confusion, fear, and frustration during almost two months of missing loved ones while in isolation.”

Kyle Scheurmann  (2013) BFA
Moon Island - oil on canvas, 36” x 48”

“Recently, the difficult ecological circumstance of our planet has become my guide for new paintings. Floods and fires have slowly filled my work as the environment continues to change beyond all historical norms. Then came the virus - and isolation. Although there are small signs of incremental changes to air quality and wildlife patterns, brought on by the stay-at-home mandates, the earth has not stopped calling out in distress. The water keeps rising, even if we aren’t watching it as closely.”

Inline Image Template

Storying Online Exhibition

A photo of a group of people standing in three rows with their backs to the camera
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - 9:00am to Monday, June 1, 2020 - 9:00am

Visit the exhibition at


Over the winter semester 2020, OCAD U faculty Penelope Smart and Pam Patterson and 25 students of CROS 2002 Contemporary Issues: Art Today met on Thursday afternoons to explore the concept of identity — the solid, evaporating, congealing, fractured, token, sincere question of Who am I? within contemporary art practices. Our inquiry took on many forms: personal writings and responses on issues of representation and difference, memory and imagination, and the mediation of the world through technologies. Together, we mapped frameworks of the self through readings, peer discussions, presentations and gallery visits, working toward a fluid, unscripted, collective expression of our findings: a group exhibition of individual works that speak to identity as a myriad of stories we tell ourselves (or are told) about who we are. 

“Storying”-as-exhibit was set to open in the Learning Zone on April 2nd, 2020. As Covid-19 became a reality for the OCAD U community and across the globe, we pivoted to the OCAD U Library's digital platform. It is exciting and meaningful for us to share these works — as self-expression in the here and now — with online audiences during this extraordinary time. It has never been more important to stay connected and curious about other people. How do our personal experiences, histories, creative talents, and daily hopes and fears work to both keep us apart and bring us closer?

This website serves as an online exhibition and creative portfolio of the course. Please explore the multidisciplinary works — spanning painting, drawing, textile, sculpture, animation, music, AI tech and video — of students by navigating to the online exhibition and Facebook page. On the exhibition site, you can also read short artist statements including poems, lyrics and creative texts, which accompany and illuminate each work.

Thank you for visiting.

-- Penelope Smart, curator and tutorial leader


Exhibition Statement: “Storying” is an exhibition by students in CROS 2002 Contemporary Issues: Art Today. Individual works spanning a variety of media query identity as a creative act — a thing to be made, re-made, told, written, erased, re-written, documented and performed. Works consider how questions of authorship and authority shape the stories we tell about who we are.

Exhibiting Artists: Anam Feerasta, Bernobayobaylee/ Lee Reid, Carla Sierra Suarez, Carmen Mahave, Chris Mullrooney, Emily Flynn, Esther Liang, Fabina Germain, Fuyu Liu, Jerry Zhou, Kaia Fortis Scott, Lou Davis, Lucas Kim, Madison Burke, Philberta Mak, Raf Dan McEwan, Tony Leung, Violet Liepins, Zhenhao Sun

Professor: Pam Patterson 

Project curator: Penelope Smart, Tutorial Leader

Assistant curator: Temple Marucci-Campbell 

Web design: Marta Chudolinska

A special thank you to Marta Chudolinska, of the OCAD U Learning Zone, for her positivity, helpfulness and technical and administrative knowledge and support.

Venue & Address: