August 8 - 12, 2021

Image courtesy the Queens Covid Remembrance Committee.

16-year-old artist Hannah Ernst began drawing portraits of Covid victims after the loss of her grandfather, Cal Schoenfeld. Her work has since become an iconic symbol in the Covid-loss community. With the help of her mother Karen, they created a Facebook community named Faces of Covid Victims, which features over 1600 portraits drawn by Ernst since August 2020. Elegantly capturing the spirit of lost loved ones, Ernst’s portraits accentuate unique details: a favorite baseball cap, glasses, or a carefully shaded salt-and-pepper beard.

On May 1, 2021, a committee of borough residents who lost family members to Covid-19, organized the first Queens Covid Remembrance Day, a solemn day of pause and reflection to ensure that loved ones were not forgotten in the ever-rising toll of the pandemic. 270 portraits of Queens residents drawn by Ernst adorned the empty benches of Forest Park as a visual representation of the tremendous loss endured by the borough’s community.

The Queens Covid Remembrance Day Committee, in partnership with St. John’s University’s Yeh Art Gallery, shares these very same portraits as the centerpiece of this exhibition, a collective and community memorial that honors and celebrates all those lost to Covid-19.