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Artist paints portraits of the deceased using their own cremated ashes

Portraits of the deceased are never meant to be happy and light, but you probably haven’t experienced anything this morbid before.

51-year-old German artist, Heide Hatry has taken honouring the dead to a new realm of creepy.

After the suicide of Hatry’s friend in 2008 and experiencing her first cremation, the artist discovered a way to honour the memory of the recently deceased – with a twist.

She uses a photograph of the deceased person as a base from which to recreate a portrait drawn with their own cremated ashes. Hatry uses layers of beeswax then delicately applies the ashes.

She says the artform more resembles a mosaic process than painting.

According to Daily Mail, the trauma of Hatry’s friend’s death brought with it unresolved issues from her own father’s passing.

“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.”

The art became a coping mechanism for Hatry and a kind of cathartic experience, “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.”

Hatry now has over 30 individual portraits created from the cremated bones and particles of bodies of people now gone.

Her upcoming exhibits can be found on her website.

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About the author

Bronte is a media student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). She enjoys music, fitness, and exploring the city.

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