Vax Marble: A World in Healing

Four bandages form the peace symbol over a view of Earth from space

My friend and I met while I was volunteering as an orientation guide for incoming international students at our college. This was during an era of ever-increasing Chinese enrollment in American colleges, which began to encounter rough waters during the trade war, and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While legitimate grievances exist between governments, on anything from climate change to human rights, it was disheartening to see the very real effects on people caught in the middle as rhetoric heated up during the pandemic. My Chinese friends, including the co-artist of this piece, felt the intense scorn of the "China virus" label and have had to face the twin fears of a deadly pathogen and the deadly, racist violence that all too often accompanied it.

Now that vaccines have become available, albeit unequally, throughout the world, there is talk of vaccine hoarding, vaccine nationalism, and other schisms, when there could be talk of how to come together, heal, and prepare ourselves for other global challenges.

In light of this, my friend and I created this art piece from a very tangible reminder of this pandemic year: our COVID-19 vaccination bandages.

Specifically, "Vax Marble" is composed of the Earth, as seen from space in 1972, overlaid with four bandages from the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccinations given in 2021 to a citizen of China and a citizen of the United States. The bandages were arranged to form an international symbol of peace, in order to say that we cannot heal our world without first coming together.

"Vax Marble" was created on March 13, 2021, from vaccinations given on February 15, 2021 and March 8, 2021.