Former Metro Times art director memorializes Detroit's COVID-19 victims using 900 photos

click to enlarge Artist Eric Millikin created this montage from nearly 900 photos representing a majority of the 1,500 Detroiters lost to the virus so far, between March and Aug. 18. - ERIC MILLIKIN
Eric Millikin
Artist Eric Millikin created this montage from nearly 900 photos representing a majority of the 1,500 Detroiters lost to the virus so far, between March and Aug. 18.
Former Metro Times art director Eric Millikin is making waves with a powerful image commissioned by the City of Detroit. Using 900 photos of Detroit's COVID-19 victims provided by their families, Millikin created a montage that forms the iconic Spirit of Detroit. The photo represents the 1,500 Detroiters who have died from COVID-19 from the beginning of the pandemic in March to mid-August.

"It is my honor to create this for our people of Detroit," Millikin said in a statement. "This has been an absolutely staggering, heartbreaking loss that this city will feel for years to come."

The photo will be used as the cover of a program booklet for attendees of the City's Memorial Drive funeral procession on Belle Isle on Monday, Aug. 31, and the individual family photos will be displayed as billboards around the park. The event is open to family of victims on Monday and open to the rest of the public on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mayor Mike Duggan has declared Aug. 31 Detroit Memorial Day for COVID-19 victims.

"Detroiters care deeply for one another and we felt it was important and necessary to provide an opportunity for members of this community to collectively celebrate the lives of those we’ve lost to this terrible virus," Duggan said in a statement. "This is how we begin the healing process."

The image has already had a powerful impact in showing the emotional toll of the pandemic. "My first barber, my mother’s friend, an acquaintance from high school, my coworker," one Twitter user said of the photos featured. "I can go on."


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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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