"While we are all watching caregivers, nurses, and doctors giving all they can to our communities, risking their lives for us, we want to find a way to honor them. They should all get a medal, a votive offering given in gratitude or devotion. At some point this crisis will end and there will be a moment when we can thank them for all they do. We propose to present as many health workers as we can with a medal based on a traditional ex-voto, also to mark the moment when we can see a future."
In June 2020, I came across this wonderful international project called HAND MEDAL PROJECT. Two artists and friends, Iris Eichenberg, from the Cranbrook Academy of Art (Michigan) and Jimena Ríos from the School Taller Eloi (Buenos Aires), got the amazing idea of proposing jewelers from all over the world to sit down at their benches and make medals in the shape of hands. With their hands, the jewelers would honor the health care professionals who have been working non-stop since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. "The hand medals are based on a special kind of offering called an ex-voto, an offering to fulfill a vow. This is a continuation of a long tradition of giving a token of gratitude after a promise is fulfilled or a service given." - they explained on their website.
Living in Switzerland now for 8 years, I decided to write to them and ask to be part of this project. I felt the responsibility of thanking this country's healthcare workers who have been risking their lives and working incredibly long hours for eight months now. I got the honor of being one of the 145 artists who have the role of a hand keeper, meaning that all the hands made by swiss jewelers were sent to me during these last months and on the 8th of November, I will personally deliver and pin these medals do celebrate those we must not forget to thank every day.
I believe that nor Iris or Jimena thought this project would reach so many people who decided to take some of their time to produce these medals. But today, they can proudly say that 66 countries are participating in the project and around 70.000 medals will be passed on to medical communities. Each medal has a code stamped that will allow the ones who receive them to know which jeweler has produced the piece on the project’s web page: www.handmedalproject.com.
Of course that these medals are very small compared to the sacrifice the health care workers have done, but as Iris and Jimena explain: "The work of our hands honors the work of their hands."
Below, you will find are some pictures of the Swiss healthcare workers who have received their medal on the 8th of November.
To know more about this wonderful project check: