December 1, 2021

Plainsboro Library Exhibit Inspired by Pandemic

“INTERNALIZED”: Work by artist Chanika Svetvilas is now on view at the Plainsboro Public Library gallery. An artist’s talk and opening reception for the exhibit, “What I Have Learned (Fill in the Blank),” will be held on Saturday, December 4, from 1-3 p.m.

An exhibit of work by Chanika Svetvilas, who describes herself as “an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary artist,” opens at the Plainsboro Public Library gallery on Wednesday, December 1. Svetvilas is scheduled to give an artist’s talk on Saturday, December 4, at the opening reception, scheduled for 1-3 p.m.

The show, which runs run through January 26, features 50 oversize (36” x 24”) charcoal drawings — and some collage — created during the pandemic. Each piece has its own title, and collectively the series is entitled “What I Have Learned (Fill in the Blank).” 

The Princeton Junction artist said that the work in the show represents her response to the ongoing isolation of the pandemic, especially in its earlier days. She has tried to illustrate “satirically the disparities and inequities brought to light” during the nation’s experience of COVID-19.  Included in the exhibit are the artist’s representations of the Black Lives Matter movement, a response to George Floyd’s murder, pandemic charts, images of masking, and depictions of her own experience.

The artist explains that she “uses narrative as a way to share experiences to disrupt stereotypes and to reflect on contemporary issues and cultural identity.” She has little interest in traditional art, she said, and “is not looking to reach the art community.” Rather, she seeks “interaction with the general public” and hopes that her work will encourage her viewers to reflect on their own experiences.

Svetvilas does not favor any one medium. She calls herself a “conceptual artist” and says the concept she wants to illustrate determines the medium she will use. She has presented her installations at the annual College Art Association conference, CUNY Hunter College, and Stony Brook University. She has exhibited at the Denver International Airport, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Brooklyn Public Library, Westbeth Gallery, the Islip Art Museum, Princeton University, and the Center for Collaborative History, among others.

More information about Svetvilas is available on her website at

The gallery is located in the Plainsboro Public Library, 9 Van Doren Street, Plainsboro. For more information, visit