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Map for the Lasqueti Cemetary

by Sophia Rosenberg and Julia

"What is remembered lives”

Before this September, the record of who has been interred at the Lasqueti Cemetery was kept on a piece of paper that John Osland held and passed to Sheila Ray. Now this information is available to all visitors to the cemetery with a mural created by Julia Woldmo and Sophia Rosenberg and mounted on the cemetery shed.

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The mural began with a digital map of the graves created by the Xwe’etay Archaeology team using high precision mapping tools. The artists embedded the map of this fragment of Lasqueti history in a timeless Lasqueti context. They chose a herring ball as the central image as it has been an important source of food for our ancestors, encircling the island and this coast for thousands of years. They chose the Yew tree because Lasqueti is also called Xwe’etay, which means Yew tree or Isle of Yew. The Yew tree is also associated with the dead and the afterlife in both European and Indigenous cultures. An upside-down tree, with roots in the sky and branches on the ground is a poetic symbol of the otherworld and so they painted the tree upside-down with subtle roots reaching into the top corners and branches drooping down amidst stars glimmering at the bottom.

The mural was part of a larger installation designed to enhance this important community space. Shari White and Alex Bain finished the soffits on the shed. Laurence Fisher is creating a live yew edge frame. Clare Kenny hosted cobb workshops to finish the underside of the bench with mud and glittering stars. Chris Delgatty created a standing bell to ring when we visit the cemetery or gather there in community. Finnerty Cunliffe and Laurie Jaya Gates painted the names on the cemetery key which is around the corner on the shed.

The plan was to greet this new installation with an event in October which ended up moving aside for, or melding with, the burial of Arne Baartz who will be the first name added when we update the map in about five years. So this is the official announcement and celebration!

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Isle of Yew

fur, fin, feather, leaf, scale, skin,

intricate spiral of kin

we flash

in tidal flow, feed

and are food, solve

and dissolve, arrive

and leave a glimmer

in the current

we weave

our hidden roots

a wake of stars

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