Honoring the Dead

Xavier Cortada, “Honoring the Dead,” 2020.

On May 8, 2020, Cortada made 454 marks on the coastline of Key Biscayne, one of Miami’s barrier islands, as part of a ritualistic performance to honor the 454 neighbors who had died due to complications from COVID-19 as of that date. Although waves washed Cortada’s markings away, those impacted by these deaths will never forget their loss – and, conceptually, the waves share our grief with those also grieving on shorelines around the world. About the Artist: Xavier Cortada is an artist and professor of practice at the University of Miami Department of Art and Art History. Over the past three decades, the Cuban-American artist has created art at the North and South poles and across 6 continents, including more than 75 public artworks and dozens of installations, collaborative murals and socially engaged projects. The crux of Cortada’s work finds itself rooted in a deep conceptual engagement of his participants. Particularly environmentally focused, the work Cortada develops is intended to generate awareness and action towards issues of global climate change.

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