Trivium Art HistoryArt History Projects

A Memorial to YourselfLike a tombstone, but better

Art has celebrated death for millennia, and today it will celebrate your own final rest. Imagine you are commissioning an artwork to commemorate the your own life. How you would like to be remembered, and in what form. A neoclassical obelisk? A New Guinean malagan carved with symbols only you can understand? A gold painting with your portrait at the center? Will it be hung in a museum, or placed in a tomb? Will it be displayed and then ritually burned, or designed to last 1000 years?

Your artwork should take inspiration from one or more examples of funerary art from history, but keep in mind that death is a culturally important and sensitive topic. Your artwork should be unique to you, and avoid insensitive cultural appropriation. And if the idea of designing your own memorial is overwhelming, design one for someone else—no need for existential crisis.

Once you’ve imagined your artwork, do one of the following:

Draw

Sketch out your funerary artwork. Include a human figure to show scale, and annotate the drawing to describe iconography or other details. If your artwork is sculptural, sketch it from the front and side.

Write

If you prefer the written word, write a description of your funerary artwork. Describe its overall composition, what it depicts and why, and what materials it is constructed from.

Perform

For the brave, few things can be more powerful than a well-performed funerary ritual. Compose and perform a funeral ritual, consider costume, movement, spoken liturgy, and ritual objects. What feelings and ideas do you want to convey?

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