In collaboration with the Hektoen Institute of MedicineAs of January, 2022, over five million people worldwide have died from Covid-19. Three-hundred million have been infected. The numbers continue to rise as variants wreak new havoc. For those who perished, for those who lost a loved-one, for those who have recovered, and for those who courageously and selflessly served during the darkest and most uncertain days of the pandemic, we announce a competition to design and build The Covid-19 Memorial of Honor and Remembrance sponsored by the Hektoen Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit educational and research organization founded in 1943 by a group of prominent Cook County Hospital physicians in Illinois as a venue for funding and conducting medical research and education. Today, it also administers grants on behalf of those working to improve care and resources for patients, and addresses health concerns facing underserved populations throughout the world.
This Memorial will be a physical monument of sculpture and a center of education that addresses and symbolizes the myriad issues and emotions encountered by citizens throughout the world as they navigated the most powerful scourge and tragedy of our time. No other event in the past two centuries touched everyone as did the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether by death, illness, grief, or at best, lock-down, the pandemic left no one unscathed. This universal event respected no boundaries and did not discriminate by age, gender, race, religion, or nationality. As the pandemic excluded no one, our Memorial is unequivocally inclusive and will embrace the sentiments of all citizens throughout the world.
Looking forward, the virus will eventually dissipate and the pandemic will be history—a distant memory. But lest we forget, it is critical to reflect on this shared experience and to honor those who fought on the front lines. They are the health care workers, the public service employees, those who rang up our groceries and brought us medicines, delivered our packages, prepared our to-go meals, drove our buses, and more. These brave souls ensured our survival as they encountered significant risks dealing with a nascent illness. The Memorial will also serve to laud those who miraculously discovered and dispensed the Covid-19 vaccine, saving thousands of lives. The Hektoen Covid-19 Memorial of Honor and Remembrance will recognize these individuals and provide a space to mourn, reflect, and heal. The Memorial will for years to come educate, enlighten, and prevent the world from succumbing to future pandemics.
The Memorial initiative is spearheaded by the Hektoen Institute of Medicine Monument Commission. The Commission envisions the Monument as a major outdoor public sculpture. The materials and concept will be in harmony with the environment and cultural topography. The design will captivate emotionally and intellectually, and the embracing concept will speak to all nations and cultures.
The Monument may include one large structure or several that address the theme of Honor and Remembrance. The design honors all who courageously served while much of the society stayed home, locked-down by government order. Aspects of remembrance additionally address the lives lost, the experience of the event, the suffering, medical advances with the vaccine, pandemic management, and hence the call to learn and to heal.
The size of the monument is unspecified currently, but will make a marked impression from a distance and allow for ample surrounding space of gathering and reflection. The materials of the Monument will blend into and be sustainable for the landscape. The site and location will be accessible for visitors from near and afar.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
The Hektoen Institute Covid-19 Monument Commission will invite artists throughout the world to submit design concepts for the Covid-19 Memorial of Honor and Remembrance. The first phase of the Memorial will be the preliminary design. The winning artist will receive a cash prize of $10,000. After a design is selected by a panel of distinguished judges, the artist may be asked to participate in the construction of the Memorial, planned for spring 2023. The Commission will undertake to collaborate with partner organizations who will benefit from participation in this imperative and noble endeavor.