Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has seen more than 37,000 deaths from COVID-19. On Thursday, Mar. 31, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will host the in-person exhibit opening for COVID in the House of Old, one of Canada’s first public commemorations of the pandemic.
COVID in the House of Old is a poignant multimedia installation created by York University professor Megan J. Davies and features original music by Toronto-based musician and composer, Hiroki Tanaka. Using multiple chairs, sound and speakers, COVID in the House of Old tells the story of seven individuals from B.C. and Ontario whose life was altered by the rapid spread of COVID through long term care.
“We look forward to hosting the exhibit opening for COVID in the House of Old on our KPU Surrey campus,” says KPU President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “It is important to provide a public venue for reflection and discussion on what so many have experienced in the last two years.”
Coming at the second anniversary of the pandemic, this storytelling exhibit acknowledges the thousands of seniors who died in care homes or endured months of isolation, the staff who faced an overwhelming burden of care, and the families and friends unable to visit or help their loved ones.
“It is a powerful moment to be opening this exhibit two years after the COVID deaths began at North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Care Centre,” says Davies. “Certainly, it is important to remember how those tragic mass deaths then began taking place in care homes across the country, becoming a national crisis that revealed longstanding weaknesses and inequities in a broken system.”
Davies hopes the exhibit will prompt community discussions on COVID-19 deaths in senior care homes, encourage reflection and activism, and motivate Canadians to consider the systemic fault lines in the eldercare system that the pandemic revealed.
Members of the community are welcome to visit the exhibit for free in the Arbutus atrium at the entrance to the library on KPU’s Surrey campus, 12666 72 Ave., during opening hours from Apr. 1 to Apr. 28, 2022.