Student painting shines a light on healthcare workers

Posted: June 3, 2021

Tenzin Chosang honors healthcare workers’ bravery admist COVID-19 pandemic

Painting by Tenzin Chosang

Jesus Christ is justice, he sets us in the right relationship with God and others, and others have inherent dignity and worth,” said Executive Director of Faith Formation David Hoffner to the dispersed crowd of students listening attentively from their chapel seats. “Being made in the image of God is a revolutionary teaching, one where we recognize that people are ends and not means, that people reflect the Divine. And at Minnehaha Academy we believe ‘each person has been created to love God and others and to care for God’s creation.’ Jesus frees us to live in the joy of serving and loving others, bringing glory to God and good to our neighbor.

In Hoffner’s pre-spring break chapel, he urged students to take action in justice seeking and image bearing. To extend his message outside of chapel, he sent out a school-wide survey for students to complete. At the bottom, there was an option to create art for the chapel. 

Freshman Tenzin Chosang jumped at the opportunity to contribute. In merely six days, she painted this acrylic frame of Jesus Christ tying an ICU nurse’s scrub gown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dark hues of blue deepen the soul of the painting. The intricately highlighted crinkles in the scrub gowns reflect the light that beams down from the top right corner, shining down on the ICU nurse.

Chosang wanted to showcase the bravery and selflessness that essential healthcare workers have displayed on the frontline in the past year.

“I got an idea from my mom because she’s a scrub nurse,” said Chosang. “There’s a lot of healthcare workers in my family and I feel like they’re very underrated. I feel like even now, people are starting to recognize them, [but] even before COVID, they [worked insanely hard]. I just saw that and I’m like, they deserve a painting with Jesus, you know.”

The messianic figure is just one focal part of the painting. He deepens the reverence for the ICU nurse through his own eminence. Chosang would only put two of the most revered figures next to another.

“It’s kind of like a parallel between Jesus dying on the cross [to save the people], and ICU nurses risking their lives in order to help patients,” said Chosang. “I made it so Jesus is looking at the viewer. So it’s kind of like you’re in the painting, so you have a better connection.”

Chosang chose to share her piece with the Minnehaha community in the weekly Chapel service on May 6. Her work impressed many, leaving people in awe of the self-taught artist’s work.

“I’m extremely impressed, but not at all surprised,” said art teacher Nate Stromberg. “When Mr. Hoffner showed it to me and told me that Tenzin painted it, I said ‘of course she did.’ She’s really, really good,'” said Stromberg with a chuckle. “Yeah, her painting skills are excellent.”

Chosang first began drawing in elementary school, as any child does. In middle school, she picked up the paint brush.

“I think [painting is] a lot cooler than drawing,” said Chosang. “It feels so much more smooth and natural to me … And I feel like I can do it for hours without any background noise or anything. It’s just a lot more relaxing, in my opinion.”

Although she still finds time to draw every now and then, painting usually takes the forefront.

Chosang usually starts a new painting every few months, grasping inspiration from anything.

“I just paint what I like to, you know,” said Chosang. “I feel like my mom and dad, they’re a big influence [on my work] because my dad, he’s terrible at art, but he has a really good eye. He knows if I have to work on a specific part of the painting and stuff like that. And my mom is always there to like help with ideas.”

Regardless of the purpose or inspiration of Chosang’s pieces, she executes her work beautifully.

“She’s a super talented artist,” said Stromberg. “She’s very quiet, but she’s super confident when she [paints]. Seems like when she gets a challenge she is just not at all afraid of that. She craves the challenge.”


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