Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Acapulco murals pay tribute to medical personnel fighting Covid-19

A series of murals commissioned by the municipal government pays homage to the frontline healthcare workers caring for coronavirus patients in Acapulco, Guerrero.

One of the 12 pieces, entitled Heroes Also Cry, was created by muralist David de León and his wife Abigail Medina, who collaborated with six other painters to complete the mural in five nights.

They worked from 9:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. each night to avoid traffic and mitigate the possibility of catching the virus, but the painters said the all-nighters were nothing compared to the 14 to 16-hour shifts that health workers are putting in daily.

The mural is 33 meters long and four meters tall and is divided into two sections, the first of which features two medical workers embracing each other while crying.

“I tried to capture them in a very human attitude, because all this protective equipment dehumanizes them. They just turn into a doctor or nurse and have no name. They are Juan, María or Camila,” said de León.

The second section of the mural shows four health workers moving a patient in serious condition. Two carry the patient, one carries the IV and the other pulls the oxygen equipment.

“I decided not to have them using a stretcher in order to dramatize the scene even more due to the extra effort they’re putting into it,” said the muralist, who added that it is also meant to call attention to the lack of medical supplies many hospital staff are facing.

Shortages of medical supplies and personal protective equipment have plagued several hospitals in the country since the virus arrived in Mexico.

De León had already painted two other murals commissioned by the municipal government. One titled Heroes Without Capes is a comic book-style piece featuring essential public employees, such as street sweepers, workers the artist described as those “we don’t notice much, but who risk their lives in order to keep working.”

De León was given full artistic license for the latest mural, and decided on medical workers thanks to a suggestion by his wife, who said that “they receive insults and are branded as murderers for the sacrifice and labor that an ordinary person would not do.”

The inspiration for the mural came from the artists’ relationship with healthcare workers. One family member has spent over a month separated from his wife and daughters in order to keep them safe, keeping in touch with video calls.

In order to avoid harassment, he makes sure not to wear his scrubs or other identifying items in public, and has not told the neighbors at the apartment he is renting that he works at a hospital.

Stories of 14-hour shifts without a bite to eat and even of doctors and nurses wearing diapers in order to not have to take bathroom breaks also influenced the artists’ decision to feature them in the murals.

For de León and Medina, painting is their way of combating the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone has to do their part for the cause with the skills and resources they have,” de León said.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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