In America: Remember will be on display from September 17 to October 3.
If you were in D.C. this weekend, you may have spotted a sea of white flags across the National Mall. It's a moving sight to behold, and one that is impossible to miss. It turns out it's an interactive exhibit to remember the lives of those lost to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the artist behind it wants no one to forget the toll of human loss.
The installation titled In America: Remember was unveiled to the public last Friday. It showcases over 660,000 white flags planted in the ground, with each flag representing a person who's died from the virus. The effort, which took 3 days for volunteers to complete, spans 22 acres starting at the base of the Washington Monument and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It is the largest interactive art display since the AIDS Memorial Quilt cloaked the National Mall at the height of the AIDS crisis.
Unlike most art exhibits, the public is invited to directly participate. Those who have lost someone to COVID-19 are encouraged to dedicate a flag in their memory, either in person or on the project's website where a volunteer will create and dedicate a flag in their place.
Maryland native Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg is behind the project. Described as a "social action artist," her work delves into human rights issues, including homelessness and drug addiction. Firstenberg previously undertook a similar display last fall at RFK Stadium, which deployed over 267,000 white flags representing the total death count from COVID-19 in the United States.
Courtesy of In America Flags (Facebook)
According to Firstenberg, the project aims to visualize the impact of the pandemic through multiple lenses of artistic expression. “In a traditional sense, this art can be interpreted as a memorial. In scientific terms, it is large-scale data visualization. Experienced in totality, it will be the physical manifestation of empathy,” Firstenberg said in a press release.
She also adds that the project "will provide a historic visual, reminding us for years to come that being an American means caring for all Americans."
"We cannot let this ever happen again. Our strength comes from the degree to which we stand side-by-side in the face of the challenges that lie ahead," she said.
Viewing hours are weekdays from 10 a.m. to sunset and weekends from 9 a.m. to sunset. If you'd like to find out more, you can visit the exhibit's website.
What do you think of this memorial? Have you encountered similar installations near you? Tell us in the comments.