Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Artists and the Green Funeral Movement - Dec 9 2009

Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, BC - Special Event

Artists and the Green Funeral Movement
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 from 7 - 9 pm
Mountain View's Celebration Hall and Courtyard.

Presented by Mountain View Cemetery and the Britannia Art Gallery.

Two artists, Paula Jardine, Mountain View Cemetery's Artist in Residence, and Joseph Montague, ceramicist and printmaker, will join Glen Hodges, Mountain View Cemetery's Manager, in a panel discussion.

This should be a very interesting evening.

Mountain View Cemetery
5445 Fraser St., Vancouver.
Telephone 604 - 325 - 2646
Mountain View Cemetery website.

In British Columbia since the 1950s, there has been a strong interest in alternative funeral and burial practices, for example, in cremation. It's estimated that 80% of British Columbia's dead are now cremated. While cremation is still often seen as a modern alternative, many now question its effect on our environment and are looking at 'green' burials. A recent article by Darcy Wintonyk for CTV British Columbia, "The Green Hereafter: Eco-burials gain popularity" summarizes some of the debate around this issue. (Published Monday, 7 September 2009 at article link )

The Memorial Society of British Columbia, incorporated in 1956, is BC's only volunteer based memorial society - members have often been in the forefront of change in the province. One of the goals of the Memorial Society of BC now is "to promote environmentally sound arrangements for disposal of remains" and the Society was honoured with the Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition 2008 Award for its work towards the development of the first green burial site in British Columbia - at Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria on Vancouver Island. There is more information about green burials on the Society's website.

Royal Oak Burial Park, open since 1923, since 2008 has offered "natural or green burials" in its 1/3 acre Woodland where there are only communal memorial stones. Ashes (cremains/cremated remains) may be scattered in the Woodlands area or Royal Oak offers "'hybrid’ natural burials" in regular burial lots where individualized markers may be placed. For more information about this, see the Royal Oak Burial Park website.

Only one other cemetery in Canada currently offers green burials, and a number of cemeteries in British Columbia require concrete vaults so that even 'hybrid' natural burials wouldn't be possible. Mountain View in Vancouver, however, does allow burials without concrete liners or vaults and as well allows for "multigenerational" use of a family grave or plots.

In addition, the new Celebration Hall and the newer outdoor features lend themselves to more personal commemorations at death as well as to the annual public memorial events created by Paula Jardine, Mountain View's Artist in Residence.

The cemetery's new buildings' display spaces are available to feature artists' funerary works. Joseph Montague has been involved in creating a number of funerary pieces, one of which was chosen for the 'Ashes to Art' exhibition in 2008.

See a catalogue of Joseph Montague's work on his website and see the Public Dreamer website for a look at some of Paula Jardine's work.

1 comment:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

This is a very interesting topic and something I had not really thought about.
When the time comes for decisions I will certainly think about this.