I have known Ida Tong for over 15 years. While I was pondering how I would express how kind, knowledgeable, organized and hardworking Ida is. I decided to tell a story about Ida and how she helped Andrew. Ida was able to organize and complete all the things needed to make his wish come true in a few weeks.
When I worked on the Pallataive Care Floor at Toronto East General Hospital, where Andrew was admitted. Andrew Nikolics arrived with 30 paintings rolled up in a suitcase. Bold and colourful, the artwork speaks well for a man who apparently did not himself associate with many friends and relatives. Andrew learned that he had only a few months to live. His last wish was to show his work in an exhibition. With help from the hospital staff Andrew’s wish was made known to fellow artist Ida Tong, who finally fought this to fruition.
Ida spent time talking with Andrew to make sure that the exhibiton was exactly how he wanted it to be. It was Ida who worked for hours and days and weeks to organize the artwork, stretch frames and canvases, and finally arrange an exhibition for Andrew at the hospital.
“When the show was all set up in the Garden Room, the PT brought Andrew in to his art exhibition in a wheelchair. He was alert and observant” Ida said, “The room was filled with joy and happiness, and the sun beamed with radiance through the garden windows. Everybody was looking at the paintings with such pleasure. Andrew was crowded by peopled who wanted to know about his paintings. Within the first hour and a half we sold ten paintings.”
Andrew happily and generously agreed to have the proceeds of all his work be donated to charity. Only two days after his exhibition Andrew Nikolics passed away. The nurse who was with him said that Andrew was at total peace, his dream had come true.
Ida Tong is a talented, determined, thoughtful, caring person. I am so proud to call this accomplished artist my teacher and friend.