When Patricia Borrometi sat down to create a piece of art in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fashion designer and artist said she was inspired by one goal — to do something meaningful.
Today, Borrometi’s goal has come full circle. Her artwork, “Respect,” adorns one of the most trafficked entrances at Greenwich Hospital, and is a beacon of hope and understanding, as well as a powerful source of inspiration for the hundreds of hospital staff who pass it daily.
Trained in New York and Paris, Westchester-based Borrometi has led a storied career in the fashion industry. With expertise in fabric development, coupled with design and illustration, she was amongst the original three-member team that started Women’s Black Label at Ralph Lauren. However, like so many other professionals during the months of the COVID-19 lockdown, Borrometi found herself at home and sought a way to help in the face of so much suffering.
“I wanted to use my skills in a meaningful way,” she said. “There are doctors, nurses and medical professionals who are saving lives and working tirelessly. I thought, ‘What can I do to make an impact in my own way? My skills are sketching, illustrating, fashion. Where can I put those to use during a time when people are losing their lives?’”
The piece she created is hopeful and powerful, capturing the diversity of human kind, while showcasing a common bond of shared purpose.
“I knew I wanted to address all of us,” Borrometi said. “That was really important to me. It’s not just one person, in one little town. This is the world; we are all going through this.”
She entitled the artwork “Respect,” a word that came to her when she finished the piece.
“I think it is such a powerful word, which can mean different things to different people,” she said.
Some may focus on the masks she created, signaling caring and respecting one another in an effort to be safe as a society. Others may take notice the diversity in the individuals she painted. “We all look different on the outside, who are we on the inside? Let’s respect each other,” Borrometi said.
Greenwich Hospital President Diane P. Kelly said she was so moved by the piece and its intent to honor the staff, that the art was hung in the corridor in which all employees enter and exit the building. It also inspired a hospital-wide photography exhibit that will be displayed directly across from the painting entitled, “We are Greenwich Hospital.” The rotating display will feature individual photo portraits and celebrate the diversity of the hospital’s staff, while highlighting their thoughts about working at the hospital.
“It couldn’t have gone to a better place,” said Borrometi about her gift to the hospital. “People who save lives are very special. They are working tirelessly, and they care. It’s a profession that is a very special calling.”