Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Friend, Death

Madonna of the Sacred Bones, by Laurie Lipton
via Phantasmaphile

"My parents were atheists. We had no ceremony, no goodbyes, no "closure". My father instructed the hospital to cremate my mother and dispose of her ashes. She was gone, disappeared, zapped out of existence. I was left with Nothing... literally and metaphysically. Friends & family treated my mother's death like an embarrassment. They awkwardly murmured Hallmark platitudes before slinking uneasily away. Death is as forbidden a topic in modern society as sex was in Victorian England. 

When I visited Mexico in order to see The Day Of The Dead festival some years later, I couldn't help feeling envious of their approach to mortality. Families gathered on graves and picnicked, whole villages turned up with food for households in mourning. Death was treated as normal, even silly. Candied skulls grinned in their hundreds and skeletons danced in a fair-ground atmosphere. I decided to rebel against my heritage and create drawings inspired by the mood and atmosphere of the Mexicans. I decided to get in-touch with my bare bones. My culture runs from death, screaming. We worship youth, beauty and the illusion that we have all the time in the world. We frantically face-lift and botox, and throw pills, creams and money at death. We fool ourselves into thinking that death only happens to other people & only losers die. Skulls always look like they're laughing. Maybe the joke is on us?"
    —Laurie Lipton

Amen. Let's take the opportunity today to see death in a new way.

Happy Halloween!


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