Portuguese street artist Vhils is paying tribute to his country's healthcare workers the best way he knows how—with a mural. In Porto, 10 members of the São João University Hospital Center's staff had their portraits chiseled into the wall by the acclaimed artist as a way to celebrate the contributions of Portugal's national healthcare workers.
Though the mural has been in the works for over a year, the timing couldn't be better. Given the great sacrifice that these workers gave during the coronavirus, it seems only fitting that their portraits—appropriately masked—should be revealed at this time. As it was impossible for Vhils to portray everyone who works in the hospital, he chose a cross-section of doctors and nurses as well as the administrative staff, food services, and maintenance workers who make things run smoothly.
“The piece is an acknowledgment and a heartfelt tribute, on my behalf and on behalf of the Vhils Studio team,” shares Vhils, “to all those who are on the frontline, of both the present pandemic and everyday healthcare, for the importance they hold in the lives of every one of us. It is a commendation of the courage, dedication, and selflessness with which they place their lives at risk in the defense of our own.”
The grouping of portraits not only creates a visual frontline but also speaks to the teamwork and camaraderie found within the hospital. This beautiful symbol sits at the front entrance of the hospital, as a warm welcome to those who enter in a wish that they find comfort under the care of these workers.