Photo: Public Cemetery, Roaseau, Dominica (2009). Writing: October 2011.
With Day of the Dead just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about cemeteries, death, the way we deal with remains, and how those practices vary around the world. Wherever I go, I always try to check out the cemeteries.
There is a cemetery right around the corner from our home. It’s very big. We’ve yet to make it thru to the other side. It’s an amazing place and I hope to spend more time documenting it with my camera. People have put a lot of work into decorating and personalizing the graves and many of them include little dioramas or are adorned with colourful flare. I love it!
The other day, while walking through it with my partner, Davin, I was reminded of the time we spent in Dominica photographing the cemeteries and scanning the gravestones looking for the names of my ancestors. We didn’t find any. The graveyards there were equal parts flare and neglect. With so little resources or space, grave sites are regularly overturned to make room for new bodies. I was somewhat surprised by how callously a previous tenant could be ousted in favour of the next, and even more shocked when we came upon this bone laying beside a recent eviction.