Flower “beds” garden art at UP PGH honors Covid 19 pandemic frontliners

Flower "beds" garden art at UP PGH
These “Whispering Flowerbeds” have been installed at the Philippine General Hospital to pay tribute to fallen healthcare workers. Photos from Toym Imao IG.

Flower “beds” garden art made of discarded hospital beds are now on display at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) to honor fallen frontline heroes on the first anniversary of the declaration of the Luzon-wide lock down brought on by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the transformation of the UP PGH as a Covid referral center.

Filipino multi-media artist and University of the Philippines professor Toym Imao collaborated with Zena Bernardo, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, and the Concerned Artists of the Philippines to work with the UP PGH administration in transforming the Covid referral hospital’s discarded hospital beds into an art installation of flower garden beds.

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The exhibit dubbed “Whispering Flowerbeds” found at the hospital’s main entrance along Taft Avenue will be officially launched on March 30, 2021, on the anniversary date of the transformation of UP PGH as a Covid center.

According to renowned visual artist Toym Imao, an alumnus and now professor at the UP Diliman, the art project started when a friend told him about the rows of condemned hospital beds at the Philippine General Hospital. The beds will no longer be used by the PGH and will be eventually refurbished and donated to other public hospitals.

“We strongly believe we were ‘kinalabit’ by our spirit guardians when a few weeks before the first year anniversary of the country’s pandemic lockdown, things happened amongst kindred spirits in arts and advocacies that led us to collaborate to create this art installation/tribute to our fallen frontliners,” Toym Imao shared in a social media post on March 15 after setting up the flower beds.

Flower seedlings were planted on top of 12 discarded hospital beds to represent 1 year since a pandemic lockdown was first declared in the Philippines. The 12 “Whispering Flower Beds” public art installation is aimed at planting seeds of hope in the face of a pandemic and serves as a memorial to frontline healthcare workers who have sacrificed their own lives to save others.

The group is currently collecting audio recordings of the stories about the fallen frontliners which will be heard as “whispers” coming from the flower beds.

A tribute program, “ALUYAN NG PAGHILOM” will be held on March 30 at the PGH Oblation Plaza to mark the same day last year that the Philippine General Hospital opened its doors to exclusively care for COVID-19 patients. Individuals will share testimonies and other expressions of gratitude to the loved ones of doctors, colleagues, and friends of fallen frontliners.

The program will be streamed online to reach a wider audience.

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) and Filipino Portrait Artists Guild (FILPAG) earlier joined together for an online exhibit fundraiser entitled “Handog Lingkod” that honors Filipino frontliners.

The Philippines’ tributes to frontline workers include the Baguio City Golden Blood monument, the country’s biggest altar mural, and the biggest Philippine flag made of solar lights to salute COVID-19 heroes on Bonifacio Day.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Filipino artists led by Toym Imao for creating a public art installation at the UP-PGH to honor fallen healthcare workers on the anniversary of the first anniversary of the declaration of the Luzon-wide lockdown over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

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