Leah's workshop will offer participants a chance to print a cloth with leaves and flowers. It will be a taste of the shroud-making ceremony where cloth is imprinted with plants and flowers in a deeply meaningful process that results in a beautiful cloth that is uniquely connected to the family and life of a loved person
The dread of death has appeared throughout recorded human history in art, literature, song, myth, and ritual. In both ancient and modern societies, the spectre of death has always been with us, stalking the terrified living who seek to avoid its inevitable arrival. Our attempts to respond to the finitude of life range from ancient burial customs such as mummification to computerised chatbots which imitate the personality of those who have departed.
While death is often understood as referring to the end of life, it is important to remember that death can refer to the ending of anything, such as a friendship, a love affair, a social role, a period of one’s life, adolescence, youth or middle age. Death may mean simply a transition, albeit one that seems irreversible. This workshop will convoke and conjure the deaths of our lives and those of others, so that we may dance for them as our witnesses.
Renowned US American author Sally Tisdale will comment on her recently published book: Advice For Future Corpses: A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying. It explores all the heartbreaking, beautiful, terrifying, confusing, absurd, and even joyful experiences that accompany the work of dying.
As a society, we are not very skilled at talking about suicide. In some ways this is can be explained, because suicide summons two of our greatest fears – the fear of death and the fear of madness.
We will open a space for dialogue and reflection on suicidal urges and acts that steps out beyond the dominant explanatory frameworks: the bio-medical, which assuredly connects suicide to ‘mental health issues’; and religious, linking it to sin and moral weakness.
Anyone who has had to process a loved one’s death knows that it is a difficult and time-consuming task – even if you know where everything is. This workshop will give you the tools to avoid “leaving a mess” for your loved ones to clean up during their time of grief. You will take the first steps towards getting your affairs in order. The process itself can teach you a great deal about who you are and what you value most.
How can funeral photography be integral to the grieving process? "I realise more and more that I am only interested in capturing the subtlest of emotions, a son concerned for his mother as they enter the church to attend the funeral service of her mother, a daughter reaching for her mother’s arm at the graveside, a boy crying in the dust. These photos will never make headlines or win prizes but in an increasingly toxic and partisan world for me they represent the epitome of what it means to be human." John Slaytor