THE ICONS IN ASH MEMORIAL PROJECT
The art of the human image arose many millennia ago precisely for the purpose of keeping the dead among us, not just in memory, but in charged ceremonial objects that were intended to embody and preserve their spirits for their survivors and for the community as a whole. It was a way of integrating the inexplicable fact of death into life, of insuring that the dead and what they meant stayed present and abided with us.
The purpose of ICONS IN ASH is very emphatically to celebrate the dead, to keep them in our lives in a palpable way that at once honors them and touches us to our very core. ICONS IN ASH memorial art works are created by Heide Hatry employing a proprietary technique by means of which the actual ashes of your beloved become a poignant, dignified, and enduring portrait. The art-work, in a way that hearkens to our most primordial human practices, is our beloved.
As the Roman philosopher, Cicero, wrote, "Philosophy is learning how to die." If we survey the vast history of visual and literary art, I think we can equally say that "Art teaches us how to live with death." It is in this spirit and in this conviction, that ICONS IN ASH has been conceived.
The creator of ICONS IN ASH is Heide Hatry, a practicing fine artist, represented by Ubu Gallery New York. Her work is known for its subtlety and depth, and it is admired by many of the world's most thoughtful and sensitive people. When her father died unexpectedly more than twenty years ago, she was disconsolate, and she lived with a gnawing grief for many years. In 2008 one of her closest friends chose to end his life. Not only was she shocked and devastated, but she found that the still unresolved feelings of loss in her father's death had resurfaced all the more powerfully.
Artists are intuitive people, and they find knowledge in the making of their art. With a sudden inspiration, she determined that she would make a portrait of her friend out of actual ashes. And then she did the same for her father. She has described the access of calm and tranquillity that she felt upon completing the works and abiding with them in silent communion as life-altering. And she realized that she could offer the same deep solace to others as well.
ICONS IN ASH portraits are created using a slow, multi-step layering process that invests them with a sense of depth and warmth that is uncanny. Heide Hatry understands the responsibility with which she has been entrusted, and she approaches her work with care, sensitivity, and respect, converting inarticulate ash into vibrant reminders of life in a carefully monitored, contaminant-free environment.