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The COVID-19 pandemic made its first victim in Brazil in March. In October it reached more than 5 million people infected and more than 150.000 lives lost. These people fought against the disease, but unfortunately did not resist. In order to pay homage to the victims and their families, a memorial path was proposed in a city park.
The city of Salvador, in Bahia, was chosen as the place to receive the memorial. Salvador is one of the oldest cities in Brazil and can be easily located. The city park separates two social classes, on the north side there are buildings of higher economic standard and in the south a low income community. This division reflects the inequality that exists in Brazil and that became even more evident during the pandemic.
To represent the fight against COVID-19 the water element was chosen, it is of paramount importance in sanitization, helping to reduce contagion. This choice is also justified because it represents the transformation we are going through. But just as water goes through moments of agitation, it also goes through periods of calmness, hoping that better days will come. The water flows from a fountain and runs through the ground, as it goes down, it’s path widens, symbolizing the increase of contagion during the months. It is the story being told along the way.
The fountain has 3 volumes, the first a raw cube, representing the life before the pandemic, a space where two people could occupy, the second raw cube with marking cuts, which symbolizes the changes that the pandemic brought, a part of this second volume is made with transparent material, symbolizing the void left by the loss of someone. Finally the block is cut in three pieces, making an allusion of two hands being washed and separated by 6 ft apart from each other which is the safe distance for Covid-19. The water flows from this sculpture to the flow on the floor until it reaches the water mirror.
In the water mirror are positioned small benches where it is possible to stay to pay homage, reflect about the pandemic and connect with other people. The names of the victims are carved on the floor. In this space there are also bamboo beds that are irrigated with the water of the memorial, symbolizing endurance. During the night, the benches and names are illuminated in a poetic way, referring to a starry sky.
The memorial for the victims of Covid-19 in Brazil will be a milestone so that we do not forget the difficult days we are facing. A place to remember each person who has gone, and as a community, we must be united to face this crisis and others that will come. We are mourning, but we continue the struggle.
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