An Artist Turned an NYC Parking Lot Into a Stunning Memorial to Frontline Workers
"Somos La Luz" is 20,000 square feet mural by Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada.
One artist decided to pay tribute to the essential medical professionals who have put their lives on the line to save others in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The mural itself measures 20,000 square feet, taking up the entire parking lot, according to Artnet News. The mural, called “Somos La Luz” (In English, “We Are Light”) depicts the head and shoulders of a doctor wearing a mask, scrubs, and head covering.
“I wanted to create a place to mourn, where we can contemplate the difficulties that so many people are going through, after losing so many loved ones,” Rodríguez-Gerada told Artnet News. “It’s a place that, in a political climate where there is more division than ever, we can find a way to bring ourselves back together as a community and as a nation.”
The artwork was commissioned by the health network SOMOS Community Care and the advocacy group Make the Road New York, Artnet News reported. The artwork not only honors medical workers, it also highlights the disparity of coronavirus cases in different demographics — noting that Black and Latino people, as well as the working class, have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, according to Artnet News.
SOMOS cofounder Henry R. Munoz III told Artnet News that the mural is big enough to “be seen by satellite.” He added in his statement, “It serves as a powerful testimony, not just about where we are, but also about our hopes for the future, our strength and our willingness to sacrifice our lives for our country and our dreams.”
Artistic works inspired by the pandemic have popped up around the globe. In Sweden, another artist created a giant landscape mural to send a message of hope to people affected by the virus.
Rodríguez-Gerada is also well known for his large-scale murals, according to Artnews Net. More of his work can be seen on his website.