International artist Joni Zavitsanos and her collaborator Karen Hoovestol Weimmer will be at the Houston health museum Sunday December 5 from 11 am – 5 pm to talk about the exhibit “LIVING ICONS: A Commemoration of the Victims of Houston’s CoVid-19 Pandemic.” The exhibit has been extended through at least May at the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science at 1515 Hermann Drive in Houston.
The moving exhibit is an artistic remembrance of Houstonians lost to CoVid-19. 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.”
This is not a static work for Ms. Zavitsanos. Families of Houston area pandemic victims who have seen or heard of the exhibit have since asked that their loved ones be included too.
Museum admission—which also provides access to the Museum’s multiple exhibits—is $10 for ages 13 and older; $8 for children ages 3-12 and seniors 65 and above; and free for children ages 2 and younger. It is also free on Thursdays from 2-7 p.m.
The museum also offers a Museums for All program, which allows guests to visit for a fee of $3 for up to four people with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer card.