Solie blog update-August 21st, 2016-Director Holly Mattie visits the Museum of Northwest Art 121 South 1st St. LaConner, WA
Today started out cool and cloudy with the soft smell of lavender. The perfect type of day to connect with the rich art of northwest locals. The Museum of Northwest Art sounded perfect. Once I arrived, my friend and I were pleasantly surprised that there were no admission fees today and happily donated. Upon circling the ground floor collections I discovered my favorite artist of the weekend. A one Mr. Steve Jensen has art on display at M.O.N.A. It is earthy and solid, yet sparkles in the light. Some pieces even hang like ornaments from above. He has a story that covers the full rainbow of life and his art often honors a loved ones journey to the end. I look forward to reading more on his beautiful yet, bold works.
Photos and summary by:
Steve Jensen-The Voyager Series
My best friend Sylvain did a drawing of a boat. When he gave it to me, he asked if I would make a carved boat for his ashes when he passed. He died a month later and I carved a boat as close to Sylvain’s drawing as possible. My mother came to Sylvain’s funeral and was so moved by the boat I had made for Sylvain that she wanted my father’s remains placed in a similar vessel when he passed. Since he was a Norwegian fisherman and boat builder we buried the boat at sea, like a Viking funeral. Two years later when she passed, I created a boat for her and buried it at sea with my father. The day before John, my partner of twenty two years, passed, he asked me to make a boat for his ashes. His wish was to be buried at sea with my parents. In the course of eight years I had tragically lost and buried everyone close to me.
Since that time I have created funeral boats for friends, family, and pets. Art school never prepared me to work with human or animal ashes, but I feel honored to be asked and to have this opportunity. When I work with them, I feel transformed to another time or another place, an artist who has been asked to be both a craftsman and mortician. I began the Voyager Series to help me deal with my own grief and loss, and with hope to provide relief for others dealing with their own sorrow. I made this work as personal as possible because death is such a sensitive subject for many people. I felt that by exposing myself and my family, the viewers of this work might feel more at ease. Hopefully, for those who may be dealing with their own personal grief and loss, perhaps solace and insight can be found in this series.
I created the boats in this series approximately the same size as the actual boats used for burial. Carved in wood, painted or sculpted, this work is a direct result of these experiences. Death is the one final thing we all have in common. The universal image of a boat in many cultures and civilizations symbolizes a voyage, perhaps the voyage to the “other side”, or the journey into the unknown.
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