Jacqueline Chanda

Girl with a Turquoise Face Mask, 2020
12 x 9 in
This 12x9 oil painting entitled “Girl with a Turquoise Face Mask” was painted a few months after a trip to Singapore in January 2020. I had made plans back in August 2019 to travel to Singapore to visit a friend. A week before leaving my friend sent me a text to warn me about a virus outbreak that had originated in China and was spreading throughout Southeast Asia. She wasn’t sure how serious it was but just wanted me to be cautious. I decided to travel anyway. I took all precautions, bought hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, immune-boosting supplements, and purchased a few masks before most people in the US had started even preparing. I wore my mask during the flight in spite of the fact that “experts” were saying, at that time, that masks would not help or that it was useless to wear a mask of any type to protect you from infection unless it was an N-95. I wore mine anyway and I think it really helped, along with the other precautions I took, to protect me from getting infected. While in Singapore, things got worse around the world and I noticed many more people were wearing masks in public, even little children. This painting was done from a photo that I took in Singapore at a Hawker Center or cooked food center. A Hawker Center is an open-air complex and food court most commonly found near public housing estates or transport hubs in Singapore. At this Hawker Center there was a Chinese New Year celebration in progress. The little girl in the painting was seated watching the ceremony and wearing a face mask as a precaution against the virus, a sign of things to come. Now we in the US are also wearing masks to stave off the spread of COVID-19. Who would have thought that it would come to this!