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As the world continues to fight COVID-19, an artist uses her creativity to express her sadness for all the lives that have been lost. Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg is a Washington, DC-based artist who actively creates works that touch on social issues. Its latest installation is one of its largest to date – more than 670,000 white flags planted across the National Mall to symbolize American lives lost to the coronavirus.

His journey to the National Mall began in March 2020, as COVID-19 began to take its toll in the United States. At the time, there were debates about sustaining the economy versus implementing restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. “It really bothered me. I just felt like someone had to do something to state that with the death of all these people, we also had to value each of these lives, ”Firstenberg told NPR.

This led to her initial installation last fall next to RFK Stadium, where she and a team of volunteers placed 267,080 white flags. Sadly, as the death toll continues to rise, so does the facility. Title In America. How could this happen … the flags are intended to reflect the headstones of Arlington National Cemetery.

At the time, Firstenberg also called on those who had lost loved ones to come and personalize flags. This led to an even more poignant section of the installation and some of these flags have now been acquired by the National Museum of American History from the Smithsonian.

With his invitation to bring the facility to the National Mall, Firstenberg turned his outrage over the handling of the coronavirus into a moving memorial. Again, people have been invited to personalize flags and those who cannot do so in person are encouraged to fill out a form so that a volunteer can write their message on a flag for them.

The extent of the installation is difficult to capture in pictures, and as the death toll, unfortunately, continues to rise, more and more flags will be planted. In fact, Firstenberg had to order more flags after realizing that the initial 630,000 she had on hand would not be enough. For her, the time and dedication to the cause is well worth it to recognize all those who have been lost and to remind us that these victims are more than just a statistic.

“So many of these deaths have occurred in isolation without recognition,” he added. she said. “When I had the opportunity to bring it to the National Mall, even though it’s a hugely bigger task, I didn’t hesitate. I knew I had to do it.

In America. How could this happen … is on view at the National Mall in Washington, DC until October 3, 2021.

More than 670,000 white flags have been placed on the National Mall to represent American lives lost to COVID-19.

Artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg created a similar installation last fall outside RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.

Firstenberg wanted to make sure that those lost in seclusion would not be forgotten.

Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
In America: Website | Instagram | Twitter

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