By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – How would you memorialize the COVID-19 pandemic? That is the question that was asked by the Biennial of the Americas for its Americas COVID-19 Memorial project. 21 commissioned artists and 186 members of the general public answered that question in art. Now, 22 works are on display through September 25th.

“Through our really fantastic partnership with Museo de las Americas, we’re able to offer free admission throughout the month of September, to come and see the artwork in-person and really connect with it on a different level,” said FloraJane DiRienzo, Executive Director of Biennial of the Americas.

The artists come from Canada to Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and also from Colorado. The art is a cross section of how COVID played out across North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. Artwork was also submitted from members of the public from 15 countries and 22 states.

(credit CBS)

“They’ve created artwork for everybody to mourn and really be thoughtful and also do a little hope and healing around what the pandemic has meant for everyone,” DiRienzo explained.

All of the art was featured on the Biennial website as a virtual exhibition from June 15 through July 18. During that time, members of the public could vote for their favorite, and an artist selection committee determined awards for juried first place, second place and third place.

“In the Night, In the Day, At Every Hour” by Ana Maria Hernando. (credit CBS)

Here are the winner:
–Public Favorite: Andres Mendez, Colombia, “Sublimity”
–Public Favorite, Youth: Jude Martinez, age 8, Lakewood, Colorado, “The Mask Doesn’t Represent Me”
–Juried First Place: Ana Maria Hernando, Argentina, “In the Night, In the Day, At Every Hour”
–Juried Second Place: Fritzia Irizar, Mexico, “Darwin’s Arch, 1835-2021”
–Juried Third Place: Elizabet Cervino, Cuba, “Tunica”

“This piece, she says, is a eulogy to the pandemic, and she really identified through it what folks in the Americas are experiencing,” DiRienzo said of Ana Maria Hernando’s “In the Night, In the Day, At Every Hour”.

Hernando lives in Boulder, but is originally from Argentina. Each work is inspired by how the artist experienced the pandemic, and also, how they thought they should be memorializing this moment.

(credit CBS)

“That would be the biggest thing, I think, that I would like our viewers to take away is that the pandemic effected the Americas differently, but that we’re all more connected than different, “DiRienzo told CBS4.

The multi-medium exhibit is on display at the Museo de las Americas through September 25th.
On September 16th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.,  Museo and the Biennial will host “ConnectArte: Biennial Curator & Artist Talk,” a conversation with commissioned artists Suchitra Mattia and Ana Maria Hernando and curatorial advisor Derrick Velasquez to discuss the role of art in communicating and processing grief and their personal contributions to the memorial project.

Libby Smith