Diane Burko, “USA COVID” (2020)

Duyi Han: The Saints Wear White

An outpouring of creative responses have given voice to suffering, loss, and trauma caused by the pandemic. For Duyi Han, the creative director of Doesn’t Come Out, a design studio in New York and Los Angeles, the response was personal. Born in Shanghai, Han became increasingly concerned about his grandparents, who live in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus first appeared. As medical workers in white suits came to dominate the news coverage, Han decided to honor them.

DUYI HAN Saints Wear White, 2020, digital concept rendering.

The project uses the interior walls and ceilings of a church in China’s Hubei province, conceptually transforming them into a large mural depicting figures dressed in white decontamination suits. Taking inspiration from the historic style of church painting and fresco, the mural shows medical workers selflessly putting themselves on the frontline against the virus, covered by masks, gloves, and full-body suits, rather than illustrating biblical scenes of saints or deities.

DUYI HAN Saints Wear White, 2020, digital concept rendering.

Han’s work is a digital conceptualization of what the church would look like with these images painted on the walls. “The work pays homage to the anonymous doctors and nurses who are crucial in aiding those infected,” he says. “They risk their own lives and work long shifts, often having to skip meals and sleep on the hospital floor. These medical professionals are those whom people rely on and put their faith in. They are the heroes and saints during the time of a crisis. With recent reports of mistreatment and improvable work conditions of medical professionals in China, these people deserve higher regard.”

DUYI HAN Saints Wear White, 2020, digital concept rendering.

Cite this Article

Quinn, Alana. “Duyi Han: The Saints Wear White.” Issues in Science and Technology 37, no. 2 (Winter 2021): 6.

Vol. XXXVII, No. 2, Winter 2021