NHS workers immortalised in Stoke-by-Nayland artist's tribute portraits
An artist from Stoke-by-Nayland is taking part in an inspiring initiative which sees front-line medical workers, who have been helping to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, immortalised in a painting.
Pete Hawkins is offering to paint portraits of NHS staff for free to express his gratitude for their vital work during the crisis.
“In a time when many people are doing extraordinary things in difficult circumstances, this was an opportunity for myself and many other artists to show our appreciation and give something back to the heroes of the NHS,” said the 40-year-old.
Mr Hawkins’ first portrait portrayed Dr Zaheer Mangera, a respiratory consultant, who works in acute medicine at a London hospital.
Reflecting on the thoughtful gesture, Dr Mangera said: “It was such a humbling experience to see how someone spent so much time and put so much thought in to painting a portrait of me.
“I have never had attention like that before and I have shared it far and wide amongst all my friends and colleagues and they have all said how amazing it is. I cannot think of a better way of being recognised and I really will treasure it.”
Keen to pay tribute to her husband, Dr Mangera’s wife, Nazia, provided Mr Hawkins with photos after spotting his online post about the project.
“I got in touch as I thought it would be a nice way to express to my husband how much the profession is appreciated,” she said.
“They have all been working above and beyond their usual hours to ensure families are helped during the pandemic.”
Delighted by the work, Mrs Mangera added: “Once I saw the final piece, I was deeply touched to see the effort that Pete had put into the painting. To see my husband’s reaction was overwhelming.”
Mr Hawkins, who has worked as a professional artist for 15 years, is currently focusing on a further two portraits from his garden studio in Park Street.
Having heard about the initiative, which was spearheaded by Oxford portrait artist Tom Croft, Mr Hawkins said it had been an easy decision to pledge his support to the project.
“It seemed like a no-brainer and something that I definitely wanted to do,” said the father-of-two. “It has been a real pleasure.”