“Having an urn on the fireplace is a great way to remember someone who has died, but turning it into a work of art serves as a reminder that someone has lived“.
These are the words of Adam Brown, a Missouri painter who, to celebrate the memory of the dead, creates paintings with their ashes. Realistic portraits of extinct loved ones.
Brown’s business in America is selling fast, so much so that he has even quit his previous job to focus full-time on this new occupation. Customers send Brown the ashes of the deceased, which he usually uses to create the background for the painting.
If the painting is sold, or for some reason it leaves the family of origin, the “nature” of the colors used is written on the back.
Sometimes he happened to be contacted by funeral homes who provided him with the ashes immediately after the cremation and he had to do the painting in a short time to make sure that he was present at the memorial ceremony of the deceased. Brown actually requires only a small part of the ashes which is then used as background of the portrait.
Nothing to say about the artist who, in times of crisis, found a job like any other. There are several reflections that come spontaneously. Do the ashes of the dead then become works of art? In reality, a clear irreverence towards the mortal remains transpires, as if in life they had not belonged to a human being.
The latest found on the subject is to transform the ashes into “diamonds”. Through a chemical procedure in the laboratory, the carbon contained in the ashes of the deceased becomes a precious stone which, based on the amount of boron present, can take on various shades of blue. This procedure currently is only possible in Switzerland.
In conclusion, we reduce our dead to ashes, assuming the right to do so for reasons of hygiene or even space. We stick them on the paintings; we melt them at very high temperatures to turn them into diamonds.
But are we sure that our dearly departed are in agreement? What happened to the oblivion, peace and quiet typical of this particular condition? I think this is the question we all should ask ourselves.
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