International artist Joni Zavitsanos’ “LIVING ICONS: A Commemoration of the Victims of Houston’s Covid-19 Pandemic” will be on display this October 16 and run at least through May 2022 (update) at the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science in Houston.
The museum website notes: “Living Icons is a photo exhibit that features hundreds of Houston-area COVID-19 victims. Created by artist Joni Zavitsanos, the art installation memorializes those who have died as a result of the pandemic and gives us a glimpse of the human impact of this health crisis.
Living Icons connects us with the real people behind the pandemic numbers reported every day. Through the exhibit we learn more about who they are, and who we have lost as a community. It gives all of us an opportunity to join in honoring the victims and their families.
Living Icons is displayed alongside the popular exhibit, Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World, which uncovers answers to these common questions regarding the risks and potential rapid spread of pandemic outbreaks.”
Ms. Zavitsanos has said of this exhibit: “This Project and the creative catalyst it generated found its way to my heart as I watched news story after news story reporting deaths in the various counties around the city of Houston. I was deeply troubled by the anonymity of these victims. Towards the end of March 2020, shortly after the lockdown, I began searching for names and families of Houston area victims of COVID-19 so that I could personally and individually honor them. I have chosen to depict them in a large-scale, gridded art piece and plan to gather their families to host a memorial service to open what I hope to be an extended presence for this installation.
After thousands of hours of research and work in my home studio, I have secured nearly 700 names and photos, a fraction of the total number of lives lost to date in the Houston and surrounding counties to date. Many of these families were not allowed to be at the deathbed of their loved ones, nor were they allowed to host a proper funeral, and the hurt and pain experienced by all runs deep. That is why I believe that a memorial service, along with this lasting tribute honoring loved ones lost are essential for healing.”
A private family memorial will be held the day before the opening.