All over the world, several artists, ideas and groups have come together to mourn the loss of their loved ones through memorial sites, installations, flags and to keep alive the memories of their loved ones who succumbed to the disease.
Nearly two years since the start of the pandemic that has claimed more than 5 million lives around the world, most countries are still on high alert as there is fear of new strains and infections. Amidst the entire crisis and looming Covid-19 wave, some starkly beautiful testimonials to the bravery of millions of lives lost during the pandemic have now found prominence as large-scale memorials.
All over the world, several artists, ideas and groups have come together to mourn the loss of their loved ones through memorial sites, installations, flags and to keep alive the memories of their loved ones who succumbed to the disease. Countless efforts of doctors, health-care workers and medical staff, who risked their lives when all were confined to homes with businesses and educational institutions shut down, need a special mention.
Launched by a group of doctors and social workers, a virtual memorial – nationalcovidmemorial.in commemorates Indians who lost their lives to Covid-19. It allows family members and friends of the victim to pay their tributes and bid farewell online. As a virtual space for thousands of Indians, it is run by the Covid Care Network, a non-governmental organisation led by a team of doctors in Kolkata.
A vivid memorial to the pandemic dead is a memorial plaque at Rajannapet village in Telangana by the members of Project Madad, a voluntary group of doctors and professionals from India. The group is known for its earliest efforts to provide the first dose of the vaccine to all villagers and medical equipment in the village.
Countries like the UK, the United States or Brazil and many others have started to pay homage to the lives lost during the pandemic via several sites and installations. Thousands of small white flags are planted on the lawn at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles in memory of the nearly 27,000 people who died from Covid-19 in the county last month. A three-day citywide memorial had residents light a candle along with many other prominent locations in Los Angeles, including City Hall and the Grand Park Fountain.
In September this year, the most popular image online was an exhibition of white flags representing Americans that covered more than 20 acres of the National Mall in Washington. The flags were placed in memory of those who died of Covid-19.
Art is therapeutic so the red and pink painted hearts on the 500-metre-long memorial wall in London along the river Thames has names and inscriptions representing over 140,000 coronavirus lives lost in the country. Italy has planted trees in Bergamo’s Trucca Park. “The Woods of Memory is a living monument as it is the most emotive and the one that was closest to our sentiments,” Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori said in a news report. So far, the place has only 100 trees planted of the 700 to be planted by March 2022 as Remembrance Day.
St Petersburg has a sculpted bronze statue called ‘Sad Angel’ placed outside a medical school to honour doctors and medical workers. Brazil’s Rio De Janeiro’s Covid-19 victims memorial is created by NGO Redes da Maré to protect the favela complex (shanty towns), a grouping of 16 favelas, where 140,000 people live in communities ridden by gang violence.
Architects and designers have also planned architectural marvels to honour those affected by Covid-19. For instance, Italian architect Angelo Renna from Milan will plant 35,000 cypress trees in San Siro stadium.
Latin American architecture firm Gómez Platero has designed a circular memorial in Uruguay named as ‘World Memorial to the Pandemic’ as the symbol of humanity and hope in uncertain times. Inspired by the present, but intended as a contribution to the future, the memorial is a project to generate public space with no impact on the environment and at no cost to the State.
The website of the firm states that “public space arises from the experience of the pandemic aims to continue building a collective consciousness that reminds us that the human being is not the centre of the ecosystem in which he lives since he will always be subordinate to nature.”
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