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Arts & Culture

The Healing Memorial In Detroit Supports Collective COVID Grief

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The city of Detroit, like other cities, has lost thousands of lives during the pandemic. Now a new art installation is inviting people to honor loved ones that they lost. The Healing Memorial was developed by an artist, Sonya Clark, who wants people to make a kind of amulet, a charm, a pouch decorated by a bead.

SONYA CLARK: Beads have long been used as amulets to hold power and to be passed from one generation to a next. And then the amulets themselves, or the packets themselves, either have powerful medicines in them or they have sacred text written in them.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Participants of all ages will write down a memory, a note or an intention on a piece of paper, then sew or tie fabric around it and attach a bead to finish the pouch.

CLARK: Part of the project is the power of the unseen. I'll point to, like, birthday candles on a cake, right? You will not tell somebody your wish in the hope that it will come true.

INSKEEP: It's a way for people to find meaning in what they lost.

CLARK: This is a way to remember those lives, to remember how these moments have changed us and also to give a sense of power and purpose in the collective remembering.

FADEL: Detroit's Healing Memorial will be unveiled as a 20-foot-by-20-foot installation on the city's official COVID Memorial Day, August 31.

(SOUNDBITE OF CORRE'S "RITUALS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.