A mural of nearly 150,000 hand-drawn hearts is being painted in central London to commemorate the victims of the coronavirus crisis.
Organizers have said that despite its location on the south bank of the Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament, the memorial wall is not meant to be “political or antagonistic” but to provide a “visual representation” of every life lost.
The hearts are individually painted by bereaved family members and the mural is expected to span over half a mile (1 km) when completed.
It was organized by the Covid-19 Bereaved Families For Justice campaign group, which previously called for an investigation into the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Matt Fowler, co-founder of the group, who lost his father to the virus, said: “Each heart is individually hand painted (and) absolutely unique, just like the loved ones we have lost.
“And, like the scale of our collective loss, this memorial is going to be enormous.”
A campaign spokesperson said permission had not been obtained for the mural, but Lambeth council had been notified and participants had offered to clean up the area if asked to do so .
“If we are told to stop doing it, we will stop,” they said.
“But we hope that with the support of the council and other political circles, it will become an official and more permanent memorial site.
“Hopefully this won’t be seen as an antagonistic political movement, but we want (the victims) to be front and center.
“Boris Johnson said recently that people should be able to think, a year later, in whatever way they see fit and that’s the way we do it. ”
The work on the mural is expected to last several days and the group has invited families through local networks to come and participate.
People work in socially remote groups of up to six people, in line with updated coronavirus restrictions.
The spokesperson added, “We opened the appeal to bereaved families, so it wasn’t just our group there, we wanted to make it more universal.
Mr Fowler added: “We know not everyone can come here to see it, but we really hope it can become a focal point to remember this national tragedy.
“We put it in the heart of our capital so the government never loses sight of the personal stories at the heart of it all.”
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