Processing the pandemic through art

Museo de las Americas to host COVID-19 memorial exhibit


Colorado artist Ana María Hernando hopes that her piece in the “Americas COVID-19 Memorial” helps people feel that they are not alone.

“The pandemic has been an enormous event for all of us,” Hernando said.

Hernando is one of 21 commissioned artists for the exhibit. In their work, the artists focused on how the artistic imagination conceives a memorial to a contemporary tragedy that transcends national borders.

Hernando’s piece, “In the Night, In the Day, At Every Hour,” includes black dots to represent the movement that the pandemic “is happening, and still happening,” Hernando said. White dots in the work are holes — or cutouts — that represent “all of the pieces that are not there because of the pandemic,” Hernando said. The missing pieces can be people, or the future for many, Hernando added.

The “Americas COVID-19 Memorial” is “an artist-driven project to acknowledge the grave impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Americas,” states a news release. It was a multi-month project of the Denver-based Biennial of the Americas, which is a nonprofit that exists to “enhance, celebrate and discover the cultural and economic connections between” the Americas, including Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean, states its website.

The culmination of the project is an exhibit of the 21 commissioned artists at Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Dr. in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe. The exhibit opened on Sept. 3 and closes on Sept. 25.

The project was announced in March, and along with the commissioned artists, the Biennial of the Americas had an open call for members of the public to submit artwork. About 185 works were submitted, created by people from 15 countries and 22 states. The public submissions are part of a virtual exhibit on the Biennial of the Americas’ website.

Claudia Moran, executive director of Museo de las Americas, believes the exhibit will be a benefit for the community. She believes it may create a global perspective on processing the pandemic, while also creating connectivity, healing and a sense of belonging and understanding.

“People are more resilient when there’s understanding,” Moran said. “Through art, we can create a different approach to these difficult issues.”

Americas COVID-19 Memorial, Biennial of the Americas, Museo de las Americas, Denver


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