Cross in yellow


Brief reflection on its symbolism during the pandemic


In Brazil, and the numerous variations of this country, the colonialist plan entrenched in slavery continues on its systemic course, as revealed in the relations between racialized peoples – mainly black and indigenous people – and white people. One of the tragic symbols marking the beginning of the pandemic triggered by the SARS-CoV-2 virus was the death of a domestic worker who lived in the periphery of Rio de Janeiro and who caught the virus in the apartment where she worked in the Alto Leblon neighbourhood from her boss who had recently travelled to Italy.1This emblematic case exposes the vulnerability of the population of the periphery who have been expelled from the centre of the city and neglected by public authorities in this process of historical abandonment and intensification of the notion of subject/subject, subject/object.2


[1] Mariana Simões, “Primeira morte do Rio por coronavírus, doméstica não foi informada de risco de contágio pela ’patroa’”. Publica, March 19, 2020, accessed December 7, 2021

[2] Flo Menezes and Vladimir Safatle, A potência das fendas (São Paulo: N-1 Edições, 2021).


About the photo exhibit

The “X” on the sidewalk determined the distance between people in the lineups outside a primary healthcare unit in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. However, this mark brings to mind the image of a string of yellow crosses as a reminder of the brutal number of deaths of racialized black and indigenous people caused by the pandemic. This pattern is repeated endlessly, and this repetition is grueling. This series of five photo collages seeks to stimulate reflection on this while tying the symbol of the cross to the successive images of burials and memorial ceremonies held by the thousands of families of COVID-19 victims in the country.