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Susan Elaine Jones

Visual Arts
Artist / Practitioner

I have seen very few dead bodies. I have increasingly realised that, for me, not having experience of seeing dead things made my own mortality difficult to confront. What would it mean to die? How would I look and feel? Somehow my own body, the way I live in the world, the thing my family and friends hug, would suddenly become a thing of fear; as different as a pet rabbit and a piece of roadkill. I started to realise that if I looked at more dead things, if I handled them, and got to know what that felt like, mortality might be one tiny bit less scary. Because of our extreme taboo about death, and respect for dead remains, it is difficult to even access human skeletons. I wanted to show that dead things aren’t always kept as precious untouchable objects in glass cases in museums. I find it interesting how differently people think of a skeleton when it might be a treasure, or a prized personal possession, or an object that is handled and touched.

In an age when most people rarely see dead remains and have no access to learning from dissections, I am presenting a collection of images of skulls and skeletons from a variety of sources. Not only does this break the taboo of looking at human remains for purely aesthetic reasons, but also shows a mass of skulls and bones such that not only the general form, but also traces of the individual, the person they once were, can start to be gleaned. The beauty of the human body under the skin is presented frankly in the hopes to remind us all that in 100 years, we will all be reduced to dead remains. What use they are to others depends on choices we make now.

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