“Painting in honor of all the deceased grandparents of the Covid-19 and who failed to say goodbye to their grandchildren” – Artist Juan Lucena, Spanish painter of JEREZ de la Border
I don’t know what to say about this painting by the Spanish artist, Juan Lucena. As a painting, the idea is fresh and original, the technique is as good, and execution is brilliant. The imagery is smart and provocative. The symbols of death, something horrific, yet ethereal and transcendent, evoke and reinforce the children’s bewilderment.
More than two-thirds of all covid-19 deaths in the United States are seniors. That is a horrific number when the total death toll is already over 108,000. Worse, the dead fight their final battles alone. No family is there for them at the end. These are our grandparents, our parents, and our brothers and sisters that disappear. They die alone in the hospital sometimes after days or weeks of care. That is as much a tragedy as what they die of. It is heartbreaking.
Had we been hit by an atomic bomb which managed to selectively wipe out our seniors, this couldn’t have been worse. The pandemic seems to have happened just that quickly. And, as in an atomic blast, the dead remain radioactive; we cannot see them or care for their remains.
We must tell the story of how covid-19 disproportionately killed our elderly, how they die alone, and how they disappeared. We must begin the discussion. Of the image in the painting, the only word that comes to mind is “inexplicable.” What has happened? What those children stare at in bewilderment with empty hearts, that sunken feeling pressing on your chest, is “inexplicable.” I don’t know what to say about the loss of our elderly in this way, yet I’m deeply grateful to the artist, Juan Lucena, for bringing it to our attention.