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If You Can Hear My Voice… Don’t Light a Match

January 13, 2023 - March 19, 2023
Community Gallery

Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 was on its final approach into Miami shortly before midnight 50 years ago this month when a single light bulb on the aircraft’s instrument panel failed to illuminate. Momentarily distracted, the flight crew failed to notice as the Lockheed L-1011 slowly dropped from the sky and into the blackness of the Everglades below.

“Hey, what’s happening here,” the pilot shouted seconds before the aircraft hit the ground and ripped apart, killing 101 passengers and crew members and stranding 75 survivors in an ocean of darkness. A desperate search and rescue effort began almost immediately.

“If you can hear my voice, don’t light a match,” flight attendant Beverly Raposa called out as she regained consciousness in the darkness. Pieces of the shattered plane lay scattered in the muck and jet fuel stained the inky waters of the Everglades.

Robert Marquis, an airboat captain out hunting frogs that night, witnessed the crash and rushed to the rescue, suffering burns to his face, arms and legs as he ferried survivors to safety.

The heroism of Marquis and others and the heartbreaking loss of life that night are remembered in If You Can Hear My Voice… Don’t Light a Match. This exhibition commemorates the tragic events of December 29, 1972, through the collective vision of 12 South Florida artists, each of whom was invited to interpret the fatal crash by transforming a model L-1011 airplane into a singular work of art.

The 12 model airplanes will be displayed along with 20 photographs from the crash site, images of the crew members taken hours before the fatal flight, and a video presentation that documents the fate of Flight 401 and the genesis of the exhibition. The floor of the exhibit space will display Flight 401’s intended runway landing path at Miami International Airport.

Participating Artists:

  • Ana Maria Sarlat
  • Aurora Molina
  • Jaqueline Roch
  • Connie Llovera
  • Evelyn Valdirio
  • ASANDRA
  • Martin Casuso
  • Esteban Blanco
  • Carlos Manuel Cardenes
  • Antonio Gonzalez-Nuñez
  • Armando Perez Aleman
  • George Rodez

HistoryMiami Museum’s Community Gallery serves as a space for community members to exhibit their Miami stories.

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