Kiwi nurse Jenny McGee, who was singled out by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for helping to save his life from Covid-19 in April, has had her portrait painted by one of Britain’s emerging artists.
London-based artist Max Denison-Pender was so incredibly moved by the efforts of NHS workers, he wanted to pay tribute and raise money for the doctors and nurses who work on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus.
"I'm a painter - all I do is paint and these guys have to deal with lots," he said. "They have to overcome stress, they have to go home to their families and pretend it's all normal."
In a video clip posted on social media, the classically trained fine arts painter - whose subjects are usually athletes - filmed the process. Mr Denison-Pender said he was excited but tried not to put pressure on himself ahead of painting the Invercargill-born nurse.
"I'm about to paint Jenny McGee! I don't think I’m nervous but I don’t want to f*** up," he said.
Ms McGee, globally known as "Jenny from New Zealand," has worked as an NHS nurse in Britain for 10 years. She talks about dealing with the long, stressful shifts during which they are exposed to a great deal of human suffering.
"I've worked intensive care now for a long time now, so I’ve become quite immune in a way but you’re still there, you’re very empathetic but you learn to leave it at the door," the 35-year-old explained.
"When you go home, there’s a huge focus on wellness and taking time to think about what you’re going through and the hospital has a big focus on having people for us to talk to."
Mr Denison-Pender chose seven NHS nurses to paint, including Luis Pitarma from Portugal, a critical care nurse who was also thanked publicly by the British Prime Minister.
"They're the real heroes ... you've got to have amazing courage to do that and real selfless behaviour to do that, selfless character."
To see more of Mr Denison-Pender's portraits, click here.