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  • Writer's pictureagprat

Lives, marks, masks, and vaccines

In previous blogs I have been sharing about my influences and the path that brought me to the here and now on my art journey. I will pause this evolving story to focus on the elephant in the room – almost 365 days of it: the uncertainty that soon turned into a bleak certainty that our lives were changed forever.

I am extremely fortunate. I am alive. For almost a year now, I have continued my existence taking (at times, extreme) precautions and drastically turning down the scale of my daily actions to a minimal survival mode, just like many of you… I embraced the science of the ages that clearly delineates the simple but powerful steps we can utilize to try to avoid a viral infection. Raised by a germophobic father, all I needed to do was to normalize what was instinctive to me since my early days. However, I have taken measured or unnecessary risks too. I let my guard down in stupid ways a couple of times. I panicked… Luckily, it seems that so far, the virus and I have not met in a manner that would make our encounter a fatal one for me. That is not the case for the 2,560,995* people in the world who have lost their battle to the COVID-19... My thoughts go out to each of them…

Moved by the many stories of these lives cut short by the virus, of the dreams never to be fulfilled, of the places they will never go to, and of the magic moments that will never take place for these thousands of people, and inspired by the initiative that local artist Liz Awalt created a few months ago to honor the thousands of lives lost to COVID-19, #markinglivescovid19, I used my visual language and created a particular piece that I would like to share today with you.

Using four corrugated cardboard packaging panels as my canvas, I painted and added mark after mark, while meditating on the calamity of the pandemic, the lives lost. Acrylic, acrylic pen, ink pen, pencil, were used to make over 2,000 marks and the word “life” written 1,000 times. In the end, the piece is like a sculpture with a presence that brings light, color and textures to my humble homage to the lives lost…

Each day, death hits closer and we need to be more vigilant than ever in our daily activities to avoid the spread while we wait for our turn to get the vaccine. I trust that when it is your turn you will be as eager as I am to put your arm out for any vaccine against COVID-19, of the many that we are so fortunate to have today at our disposal – CDC guidelines, state and federal roll-outs, and manufacturing inventory permitting. We are closer to the end of this tunnel, but we must remain focused.

Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Avoid crowds. One day soon you will be able to give that beautiful and caring hug that you are anxiously waiting to give (and receive), but until then, be wise and do not let your guard down on this final stretch. Stay safe & till next time!

*Source: and as of 9:36 am CET, March 5, 2021

Image: “The virus paths (Lives lived)”, acrylic, acrylic and ink pen, pan pastel, and pencil on corrugated cardboard, 40 x 22.5 inches (dimension is variable depending on installation). This image is shared as part of the Marking Lives art project to honor lives lost to COVID-19 in USA, #markinglivescovid19. Please consider submitting a piece to this inspiring project. As always, if you have questions, please contact me here.

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