For the media

Work of heart: Portraits of caregivers

By The Health News Team | January 11, 2023
Kezzy Olivar of Sharp Chula Vista displays her portraits
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Kezzy Olivar, health tech at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, standing in front of her gallery located in the hospital’s Emergency Department.

Kezzy Olivar of Sharp Chula Vista Hospital caregiver portraits
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Kezzy Olivar of Sharp Chula Vista Hospital caregiver portrait
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Kezzy Olivar of Sharp Chula Vista paints portraits of caregivers
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Kezzy Olivar of Sharp Chula Vista paints portraits of caregivers
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Kezzy Olivar of Sharp Chula Vista paints portraits of caregivers
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Keziah “Kezzy” Olivar is an emergency department (ED) technician by day, and an artist by night. She bridges her talents with the art of compassionate caring by painting powerful portraits of Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center’s frontline caregivers on her time off — even after working a long shift.

Olivar began this project in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, initially using her creativity as a healing practice. She artistically paints a beautiful moment in time, capturing the essence of what it is like working in the hospital. The success of the project propelled Olivar well beyond her original portraits, and she now has her own beautiful gallery in the halls of the ED for all to admire.

“I am inspired by the human experience itself,” Olivar says. “Life, death, grief, courage, peace, but most of all authenticity — these are strongly amplified in the ED due to the relatively intense nature of emergency work. Having the opportunity to experience and interact with patients from all walks of life and circumstances alongside my remarkable colleagues has enriched my personal outlook on life and my creative process for this project.”

Olivar shares that her goal was to evoke a stronger sense of gratitude, mindfulness and admiration for health care workers, and to celebrate the beauty of individuality and heroism. Hidden behind masks and personal protective equipment, they had to find a sense of identity. New ways of breaking barriers were discovered to engage with one another and the people they cared for.

“I wanted health care workers to be able to recognize each other, feel seen and remember that we matter,” says Olivar. “My love for this project and this transformative experience is dedicated especially to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. But I would like to sincerely extend my heart to all who wear a mask for the sake of health care.”

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