Prayer for the Deceased
In the Prayer for the Deceased series I draw funerary photographs depicting relatives of mine and other loved ones. These types of photographs are head shots and appear on tombstones as a way to memorialize the deceased. They are frequently encased in an oval-shaped metal frame reminiscent of a locket. The graves, which most of the photographs originate from, are made of natural stone, usually marble or granite, and are typical of Portuguese cemeteries.
The graphite drawings in the series were inspired by the pious aesthetic of those Catholic graves and by the silent “Prayer for the Deceased” in the liturgy of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism, in which I pray daily for my deceased relatives and for all those who have passed away as part of my Buddhist practice. As such, these drawings are prayers that honor the deceased, but they also echo an inquiry into my ancestry and my origins in a broader sense. They encompass the encounters and personal exchanges that have shaped my life and are, moreover, a reminder of the brevity of life and the certainty of death.