Paula Chung is a fiber artist who lives in Round Hill, a small Nevada community on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. When she first heard news of the pandemic in 2020, she felt angry. Then she felt isolated. Then she got to work—extremely laborious work. She began sewing a one-inch, two-color spiral for each person in the United States who’s lost a life to COVID.
As of this week, 804,000 Americans have died from the virus. Paula’s marked the lives about half of them so far on 20-foot scrolls. It’s become her full-time job. Even though it’s hard to keep up with the numbers—she’s at about 400,000 spirals; that’s about a mile worth of 11-inch-wide rice paper—she says she’s not stopping until it’s finished.
Paula’s installation Requiem, which consist of some of her scrolls, is part of the exhibition Lockdown—Paula Chung, Nancy Raven + Ted Rips, on view at the Bristlecone Gallery at Western Nevada College in Carson City through Dec. 22.
Listen: Episode 17, Paula Chung
Paula’s installation Requiem, part of the Lockdown exhibition
You can see more of Paula’s work on her website.
Photos: Kris Vagner
This episode of the Double Scoop Podcast received support from the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.