“This Japanese artist painstakingly creates installation artwork out of salt, in honour of his sister who died aged 24 of brain cancer. His intricate works use between 400 pounds to seven tons of table salt each, arranged in various patterns resembling lace, sea foam, or blood vessels.
At the end of every exhibition, Yamamoto invites people to scoop up handfuls of the salt and take it back to the sea, returning it to where it came from. The whole artistic process has helped heal his grief he says, explaining: “It’s a rebirth. It’s about connecting the people and the ocean and continuing the process of healing.”
Death is an ever present threat. Losing someone we love is something that most of us will experience. We can use the awareness of its imminence to remind us to not take the people in our lives for granted.
The arrangement is destroyed and the salt returned to the sea: a ritual in itself, giving tribute not to the never-ending quality of love, but rather, serving as a repeated reminder of the ephemeral nature of all things, even companionship, even love.”
***A memento mori is a reminder of death. It is a key practice in Stoicism but is not unique to it. It can be a simple visual reminder or quote or a more serious mediation on death. Stoics use it to remind themselves of how short and fragile life is and therefore how much we have to be grateful for, to live virtuous lives, and not to waste our time.
In this series, each Monday, I will post a memento mori from various sources, either from the primary Stoic texts themselves or other sources.