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Knoxville man uses art to ease pain of COVID-19

Hector Saldivar is using his skills to create to help ease the pain brought on to his community by the coronavirus.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For the Latinx community, the fight against COVID-19 has been hard,  but one Knoxville man is using his art skills to battle through.

 "When I was a kid, I started making piñatas," said Hector Saldivar.

Saldivar is not a kid anymore, but he's still making art. Using his hands to create as a form of expression during difficult times.

"I express myself making something and when I'm finished, when I'm done, makes me feel so good," Saldivar said.

Like many, Saldivar has felt the brutal impact of COVID-19, the loss of family, the feeling of helplessness and the grips of isolation. He turned to his passion to ease the pain and make it through.

Credit: Hector Saldivar/Hola Hora Latina

“Sometimes sadness or depressed always making something that what makes me feel a little better," said Saldivar.

Each and every one of his handmade art pieces representing a component of a virus that has decimated his community.

Spanish Version: Hombre de Knoxville utiliza el arte para sobrellevar la pandemia

According to the state of Tennessee, Hispanic people make up just over 5% of the population but account for almost 7% of the total COVID-19 cases.

Nationally 1 in every 1,000 Latino Americans has died from the virus, according to APM Research Lab.

Saldivar is well aware of the toll on his community and turning to what he knows best.

"I start using my hand to create something new that helps me not thinking about the person that I knew that died," Saldivar said.

Charlotte Jones of Hola Hora Latina says his art is a necessity.

"The hearts and the fire, the wings and the dove of peace I think is even more profound right now and something our community needs to see," Jones said.

"No matter what's going on, you just keep going," said Saldivar.

Starting Monday, Feb. 1, Saldivar's art will be open to the public at the Hola Hora Latina gallery downtown.