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.