Artitude of gratitude: Mumbai-based sculptor pays tribute to the Covid frontline workers
War memorials are monuments that remind us of our forgotten heroes. “Covid-19 is one of the biggest wars the human race has fought."
War memorials are monuments that remind us of our forgotten heroes. “Covid-19 is one of the biggest wars the human race has fought. Those who lost lives during this war must be remembered for eternity and that’s why I conceived the Covid Warrior Memorial,” says Mumbai-based sculptor Minali N Thakkar.
The 17-foot-high installation stands on Mumbai’s busiest junction at Linking Road, Bandra West (at the junction of Linking Road and SV Road), erected on June 29, 2021. It is a popular sightseeing spot in the metropolis now. “It is the first-ever installation in the world that pays tribute to the Covid frontline workers. It features statues of doctors, nurses, civic staff, police, journalists and engineers who kept alive the lifeline and spirits of citizens at the cost of their own lives and families,” says Thakkar.
The words “Thank you” “We Salute You” are inscribed in 14 languages—Indian and foreign—on the installation. “Engineers are seldom celebrated for their contribution to the world. People were advised to stay home during the pandemic. But we don’t remember that engineers made these homes. And software engineers helped us work from home. Data engineers did the number-crunching and enabled us to understand the magnitude of the pandemic. That is why we included them,” she adds.
It took 12 artists and 10 associates about nine months to put together the piece of art made of GRC (Glass Reinforced Cement) and stainless steel. Funded by the Rotary Club of Bombay Airport, the memorial had its share of hiccups such as change of location, rains playing spoilsport, difficulties in getting permissions and red tape.
Since it was to be installed in a public place, Thakkar and team had to ensure that the installation was sturdy, durable, cost-effective and vandal-proof. A panel of experts from the Rotary Club comprising structural and environmental engineers and artists gave the go-ahead after adequate checks. Thakkar, art consultant, director of the art advisory firm Art Approach and the Vice President of the Bombay Art Society, a non-profit art organisation for the betterment of fine artists, was chosen to curate the project.
● The globe represents Earth
● The hand personifies the contribution of all humans globally in the battle against coronavirus
● The leaf symbolises the Covid heroes who safeguarded us
● The monument is illuminated every day from 7 pm to 11 pm