Art For The Dead

It is hard to know what to make of massive cemeteries with row after row of identical, machine-polished, brown headstones. Everything is so perfectly ordered: not so many people hanging about, not so many markers to distinguish one gravestone from another.

We all have our traditions, but it is heartening to see cemeteries that are a jumble of commemorative artwork, handmade mementoes, freshly picked flower bunches and families weaving in and out.

We saw one beautiful example near Dolores Hidalgo. This Mexican cemetery was full of life – colourful sculptures, floral crowns, thriving plants, tangled bushes and engaged families paying their respects.  Even the graves of relatives from generations long past were festooned with cut flowers, taffeta wreaths and hand-drawn notes.

Guanajuato-cemeteryg2art for the dead

The Island of Capri is home to another generous cemetery, pictured in our lead photo and below. Gorgeous old Italian sculptures look over painted Saints, photo-personalized crosses, poetic tributes, glowing lanterns and fresh garden displays.

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Here in BC, Gabriola Island has a grave site with a stunning view. The Pioneer Cemetery was created in 1882 on land donated by Magnus Edgar. Edgar’s wife was buried on this peaceful spot overlooking Mudge Narrows.

It is hard to compete with the natural beauty but, in this smaller community, you will find people coming in and out, leaving their hand-crafted remembrances. Given the island’s strong Snuneymuxw history, you will glimpse First Nations artwork amongst the gravestones and crosses.


Written by Elizabeth Newton




Natalia Solis-Vermette


Bill Cunningham

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton