Michelle Truxal

This last year we saw more than 400,000 Americans perish due to COVID-19. This is a

significant blow for all of us, but it is difficult to really comprehend and connect to
numbers on such a large scale. My intention is to create a visual and tangible
representation of those we have lost to COVID-19 to encourage expressions of grief,
promote healing, and advocate for access to healthcare. I want to encourage the
community to come together around these expressions of grief and healing and engage
each other in meaningful dialogue, while urging the community to consider the lessons
we have learned from our experience with COVID-19 and helping to facilitate positive
change within the community. My desire is to underscore the need for social support to
engage in healthy grieving practices and promote mental wellness.
I wanted to create a work that both reflects the statistical significance of the data
considered, as well as the strong emotional turmoil that data represents. Tapestry has
been used throughout history as a way of telling stories, most recently as a method of
data visualization. The symbolic significance of weaving fibers together is a potent
representation of how we are all affected by the tragedy the pandemic has wrecked
upon us. We are all connected by the same thread of fate and experience these
interesting times together.
This work includes the data from COVID-19 deaths over the course of 2020. The data is
segmented by week in rows and by day in columns, using the numbers to create
patterns within the weaving. Each numeric range will be indicated by a different color of
yarn and time will be represented by vertical placement. For each 10,000 deaths, a rya
knot will be tied to emphasize the significance of that milestone.
Because of the disproportionate number of people from lower socioeconomic groups
who have become sick and died, I would like to use this artwork to advocate for a local
Winona organization called Bridges Health. Bridges provides healthcare and counseling
services to uninsured or underinsured individuals. If you would like to honor those we
have lost, please consider donating your time or resources to Bridges Health.
Thank you for sharing space with me today.


Meet the Artist

  • Michelle Truxal

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