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Cemetery Marker

Kariouk Associates

Shared By

dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Cemetery Marker

Project Status


Year Completed




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Project Description

AIA 2013 Small Project Awards winner in Category 1: A small project construction, object, work of environmental art or architectural design element up to $150,000.


Before dying, a woman left a note for her children to be read after her death. This note was less a will (she had nothing material to leave her children) than several abstract wishes for them. The sole request on her own behalf was that her gravesite becomes a garden. The tops of her marker are inscribed with a stanza from Audre Lorde’s poem “Prologue,” reading “…The children remain like blades of grass over the earth and all the children are singing louder than mourning…And the grasses will still be singing.” The sides of the marker are inscribed with the message the woman left for her children: “…Trust and joy must be the foundation of our family life. Kindness, responsibility, self-fulfillment, courage, and modesty are keys to a happy and satisfying life. Affection, a sense of beauty and poetry are life’s essential inspiration and adornment...” The five cast bronze plates of this marker spread over the site at varied heights above the earth, spaced to permit the grass to grow between. As the plates age, they oxidize and blend into the landscape.
Jury Comments: A life marked in gracefully aging bronze and animated by words and nature. Poetic landscape elements are artistically leveraged to honor a mother and elevate the spirits of her family. This is very moving permanent expression of life and the shape it can have after a person’s passing. This is a design that embodies the idea of ‘remembrance’. The bronze plates, graced with a deeply personal and poetic message, are organized beautifully—pushing and pulling you through the space as you engage it. This is respectful, celebratory work that gracefully merges with its landscape and poignantly reveals the spirit of a woman. Profound in its subtlety, this marker is poetic in a many-layered manner. Quite simply, it is a beautiful remembrance of a mother. The nature of the installation, though, also comments in a significant way on time and relationships over a much longer timeframe. It is easy to imagine this found at some time in the distant future, when the words will be read, the composition will be noticed, and the finder will become the remembered, connected to people unknown, yet somehow richer for it.
Collaboration Acknowledgement: Alloy Foundry (Karl Feige)
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