Secret lives of staff: Showing power against the COVID-19 pandemic one brush stroke at a time 

Research guru and artist Seema Manoj has again put oil paint to canvas to capture a time she says we must always remember.

Seema has worked as a human research ethics officer with the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Research and Education Network for six years, and is responsible for liaising between ethics committees and researchers across the country.

Though she doesn’t have any formal art training, Seema began oil painting at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020 she has created 10 oil paintings and is hoping to have enough to hold an exhibition in 2023.

One of her favourite pieces titled ‘Qudos Vaccine Roll-out’ was painted from a reference photograph of someone receiving their COVID-19 vaccination at WSLHD’s Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre.

This piece will be a highlight of my exhibition – it represents something that I can never forget,” Seema said.

Seema began this emotive artwork in November 2021 and it took her six weeks to complete.

The face of the woman receiving the vaccination is powerful and deliberate in its creation.

“She is feeling happy that she’s immunised, but there’s also the wince of the prick – I wanted to capture both emotions at the same time,” Seema said.

Seema felt very inspired by Qudos Bank Arena and “how well” WSLHD managed the vaccination rollout.

“I wanted to paint something that captured my pride, appreciation and how well we are all coping with a new life,” Seema said.

“This is very close to my heart and will stand as a memory for me and for us all.”

The Westmead Health Precinct is one of the largest health, education, research and training precincts in Australia, including four major hospitals, four world-leading medical research institutes, two university campuses and the largest research-intensive pathology service in NSW.

WSLHD has the largest research output of any Local Health District in NSW.