A new exhibit to honor the nearly 680,000 deaths in the US from COVID-19 is on display at the National Mall in Washington, DC.
The exhibit, titled “In America: Remember,” features 650,000 white flags placed upright across 20 acres and 43 volumes, each representing a death toll from the virus.
The memorial is the second from artist Susan Brennan Furstenberg, who did a similar project last year with 267,000 flags representing COVID-19 deaths in the country at the time.
“When the numbers get so big, it’s hard to really understand them, so I, as a visual artist, wanted to make the numbers materialize,” she said while overseeing the creation of the project.
“Taken as a whole, it is a physical expression of empathy,” Furstenberg said during the art installation’s opening ceremony.
So far, 678,407 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University, and currently an average of 2,000 people a day die from the virus.
The exhibition opened on Friday and will close on October 3, 2021.
It also has about six kilometers of walking paths and white benches for visitors to sit and reflect.
Fürstenberg himself has reflected on the immense sadness brought about by those deaths, to the point where it has overwhelmed him.
“I intended to put up all these flags and convince people that once people started placing their sorrows and experiences above my art, it got really overwhelming,” Furstenberg said.
“There were times when I discovered being alone with my flag was the first time I did this iteration of art,” she continued, “because I had to find a quiet place to deal with all the pain of my art. . represent.”
The flags are meant to mimic the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, which hosts the nearly 400,000 graves of those killed by American conflicts, starting with the Civil War.
It took Labor Days to put up flags by hand. Check out the exhibition itself below:
-With Reuters files
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