Artist creates portraits of dead people using their own ASHES

David Harding
Artist Hiede Hatry and a portrait of her father Paul Schmid (Caters)

This is a truly lasting memorial.

A New York artist has created portraits of dead people using their own ashes.

To create the likeness of the deceased, Heide Hatry adds the ashes, piece by piece to layers of wax.

She started started using the technique since 2008 and said it also helped to get over the death of her father.

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“I was in a terrible state of grief because a close friend, who I had no idea was in such distress, had just committed suicide,” said the artist originally from Germany.

“It not only devastated me but also brought back all the unresolved pain I had felt over my father’s death fifteen years earlier.”

“By chance, I had recently seen cremated ashes for the first time and I had been deeply moved by the experience.

“Probably as a result I had the idea, which did come as a kind of flash, of making portraits of my father and my friend out of their ashes.

She added: ‘For me the portraits were life-changing since I had to perfect the technique while I worked, but at the end I felt a sense of solace that was astonishing.

An ashes portrait of Emily Boxer, the mother of Heides’ art dealer Adam Boxer (Caters)

“At first I thought that it must have had to do with the process itself, which is extremely painstaking and highly meditative, and during which I was in deep communion with their images, often talking or arguing out loud with them as if they were there.

“But then a friend who knew what I was doing and who had lost his own mother at an early age and always felt that their relationship was unresolved asked me if I would make a portrait out of her ashes for him, which I did, and he described a very similar experience to what I had also felt, a profound and consoling sense of her presence,” reported Metro.

In total, she has done around 30 such portraits.

Heide says the results have been favourable and well-received by those who have lost loved-ones.

She added: “The Romans said ‘vita brevis, ars longa’ – Life is short, art is long.”