Don’t Worry, We’ll Hold Hands Again is a hopeful sentiment that has been stated and felt many times during the COVID-19 global pandemic. In fact, you may come across a large billboard or banner with these words in a city or town near you. In a black and white photograph, there is a small group of people holding hands as they stand together while facing the camera. Underneath their photo, you can read the aforementioned promise in bold text alongside a directive in red that reads, “Resist COVID / Take 6!”
This image is one of many visual messages that is a part of a national public awareness campaign by artist and MacArthur Genius award winner Carrie Mae Weems. The campaign, Resist COVID: Take Six consists of large billboards, banners, and posters with messaging that seeks to enlighten and educate communities about the disproportionate impact of the virus on the lives of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. In a statement released by Weems about the intention behind her campaign, she wrote, “We have indisputable evidence that people of colour have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. The death toll in these communities is staggering. This fact affords the nation an unprecedented opportunity to address the impact of social and economic inequality in real time.”
As a result, Resist COVID: Take Six is just as much of an art exhibition as a public health campaign. Other messaging presented in the campaign includes important calls to action such as “Stop the Spread: MASK-UP, BACK-UP, WASH-UP.” There are also images that express gratitude to all of the frontline workers that risk their lives daily while working in this pandemic.
Over the last few months, Weems partnered with art institutions across the country to bring forth this mixed media public art campaign to communities, including the city of Durham. The campaign is currently on view at Duke University, co-sponsored by Nasher Museum and Duke Arts. It is an outdoor exhibition that takes the route of Campus Drive throughout Duke’s campus so visitors can experience the artwork in person safely by car or on foot. To see it in person, head to the Nasher Museum at Duke University now through January. Here is an interactive map to see the images. Wear your masks and maintain your distance, of course. More information about the exhibition, Resist COVID-19: Take 6 can be found here.