Art Installation for HLTH2021

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC)

Grateful for recent opportunity to create new art for an installation featuring 6 Boston-area artists: Gonzalo Bacigalupe, Stephanie Li, Jasmine Milton, Megan Walsh, Sam Weinberger and me, Lisa Link : )

Each artist’s piece was printed on 40×14.4′ vinyl sails for the exterior installation and on 20×12′ freestanding displays for the interior installation. This was an especially meaningful process for me because an immediate family member is a Boston EMT.

According to the exhibit organizers, the mission of this art installation was to:

  • Create a temporary art exhibit on the front of the BCEC, using the unique triangular display areas.
  • Help visitors reflect on their personal experiences during the pandemic, as well as the community’s experience given the prominent role of healthcare and the life sciences in the local economy as well as on the national stage.
  • Provide a tribute to frontline healthcare workers and others in healthcare who displayed courage, commitment and ingenuity during the pandemic.
  • Serve as a memorial for ALL lives lost as a result of COVID-19 by offering a safe space for contemplation and personal tribute
  • Engage the intended audience which included area residents, those attending HLTH and the healthcare and life sciences community in the region.

Outside the BCEC

Happy got to meet one of the other artists, Jasmine Milton, her piece visible with mine when viewed through the triangular beams. We were both photographing our art at the same time. My piece is the giant heart montage.

Inside the BCEC

Managed to wander inside with some family members just before everything packed up on the last night and get some photos and jump for joy in front of the heart.

About my piece: Signs of the Times

When COVID-19 began and regular commuting ended, I would go running through the city before heading back to work at home. I was struck by all the handmade signs appearing all over Boston. Despite the empty streets and lack of normal human contact, they seemed to create a visual chorus of individuals trying to do something, to keep everyone safe, and to survive economically. This piece emerged out of those early morning cellphone photos of signs as well as from conversations with frontline workers.

The heart collage represents a big thank-you to all the essential workers and healthcare providers who had to deal directly with COVID-19. They faced shortages of PPE, politics, lack of accessible tests, and contradictory media messaging—especially during the early months of the pandemic. It’s also a thank-you to everyone who publicly acknowledged frontline workers with signs outside their homes and businesses.

I made the backdrop out of signs about social distancing, masks, and vaccines that now form the new normal of our visual landscape in Boston. Despite all our advances in electronic communications, we still tape clipart prints of masks and hand-written notes on doors to communicate evolving public health messaging. I wanted to create a snapshot of this moment in time and the signs seemed to channel the spirit of the day.

Now that most of the thank-you signs are gone, I hope that people viewing this piece will take a moment and reflect on those who shouldered so much of the burden fighting COVID-19—the workers who couldn’t telecommute to their jobs. What can we do to elevate all the essential workers and frontline healthcare providers in our communities, to understand their experiences, and to go beyond the cardboard signs?

With gratitude to Blanca Bonilla, Rose Coveney, Trevor Link, Nancy Marks, Kate, Raina, and Isabella who contributed photos of signs and/or design feedback, and to Michael Hoefler and HLTH for supporting this art installation.

Lisa Link,
Boston, MA
Instagram: lisalinkfoto

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