While sheltering alone throughout the pandemic, the birds that visited my backyard were among the few living beings I encountered, so the theme of birds naturally arose in my work. But I could not seem to reflect their joy– Rather, I could only depict them flightless or dying. Rendering these tiny deaths, one after the other, was somehow a conduit to express how I felt as the virus, political division, and injustice raged. These works were an exasperated plea for empathy. As the months dragged on and COVID death tolls mounted, I began to research how artists of centuries past had portrayed plagues and pandemics; I soon found myself incorporating skulls and Latin phrases calling for mercy into my work.