Thursday, 14 January 2010

A life cut short

Walking around Abney Park in the snow. The grave stones and monuments seen clearly now the leaves have died back. The white ground the same colour as the sky. I am drawn to the picture I took of a pair of broken columns. For many reasons I am put in mind of the symbology here: a life cut short. I think of people who died suddenly, without warning. Leaving behind those who will never meet them and only have a sense of them through other's memories. I think of the video I was shown recently of a cemetery in Haiti, a different way of honouring the dead. A chaotic maze of layered blocks, columns, claustrophobic streets, like a catacomb above ground. Tombs built up high and tottering, tiny spaces to squeeze in between and no sense of the edges. In a corner a set of bones and a shrine, black and smoky, a heavy lid pulled back and a pool of ritual water, a fathomless well. I wonder if the cemetery is still there in the form I saw it on the screen, or whether the mausoleums have crumbled, now a ruin for the dead. This is uncertain to me at present but I know for sure that in other areas people were trapped in rubble, some got out, others did not. Many have lost their homes and friends, family have gone.

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