Caribbean-rooted artist Laura James wields art and prayer-power to fight COVID-19 fears

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A report by Jared McCallister for The New York Daily News.

Usually a clever memes and social media posts would get a “like” from me. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent moving post sparked me to share the creation in this column.

“Really nice. Really timely,” was my immediate response last week to seeing and reading a Facebook post by Bronx-based veteran artist Laura James, whose parents were born in Antigua. James specializes in amazing works featuring religious themes and Bible dramatizations.

Her March 16 post — on the “Laura N James” Facebook page — linked six pieces of her moving religious-focused art creations with this simple, positive statement: “No matter who you believe in, let’s all meditate on healing our planet and its inhabitants.”

The colorful and inspirational paintings include “Buddha In Deer Park”; “Yemaya” (the West African goddess who is respected in Haiti’s Vodou religion); “Sermon On the Mount” (featuring Jesus with outstretched arms), and a vigilant “Guardian Angel.”

James — interpreting that “humanity is worried” about the virus crisis from news reports and “posts are from every corner of the globe” — shared her art-based message of hope.

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The colorful and inspirational paintings in James’ Facebook post included (l. to r.) “Buddha In Deer Park;” “Yemaya” [the West African goddess who is respected in Haiti’s Vodou religion]; and “Sermon On The Mount” [featuring Jesus with out-streched arms].

The artist intentionally shared works that represent various religions of the world, to express the concern for, and connect with, coronavirus victims around the globe.

“Religious or not, humanity must get on common ground as a global family; it’s time,” said James, who featured paintings representing “various belief systems” in her post.

“I made this post because I wanted to show an example of how one person can easily appreciate and respect different sacred traditions and all people, and we can all do that,” James said.

On a personal note, her painting post came after the “Bronx Now 2020” exhibition, of works from than 30 artists, was postponed due to coronavirus-related crowd restrictions. The third annual exhibition was curated by James and Eileen Walsh


Also online, the often-ignored content of some social media posts are standing out for their sincerity and timeliness, in the midst of the pandemic panic.

On such post was shared by Ina Dilion, who hosted the Caribbean-American talk and entertainment “Ina Dillon Show” and the ChatCaribbeanStyle. She presently follows coronavirus information and shares news from credible sources.

“Lord, please give us Your strength during these trying times to have faith over fear and know that my family and friends will remain protected and safe,” was the prayer Dillon passed on from the “Kelly’s Treehouse” Facebook page of messages containing “growth, love, inspiration, peace” and sometimes “funny” memes.


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