Honouring Old Traditions | Creating New Ones
“On All Saint’s Day in the autumn the cemeteries are little cities of golden light, a candle flickering the night through beside each grave.”
– Poland; Funeral Customs the World Over, Habenstein & Lamers, Bulfin, 1960
In many cultures around the world, the days at the end of October and beginning of November are considered an important time for honouring the dead in our lives. In our modern, urban, and relatively transient culture, traditional “village” customs have been left behind, though not the human impulses that led to these traditions.
All Souls at the Mountain View Cemetery is a non-denominational sacred event, and an opportunity for people to share their own customs and experiences.
Led by artists Paula Jardine and Marina Szijarto, it grew out of their work together at Public Dreams, and their desire to understand the role of artists in the sacred life of the community.
The project has been part of the revival of the role of this urban cemetery in the life of an increasingly secular and multi-cultural community.
The focus of Paula Jardine’s work has been to revive and redefine community arts and the artist’s role in the community. Her work explores and cultivates cultural forms that celebrate and connect us to each other, the land, and natural cycles.
Paula’s training background is in dance, theatre and writing, with an emphasis on Canadian History and Folk Traditions in ritual and seasonal celebrations. Her work in outdoor spectacle theatre and celebration was the foundation of the Public Dreams Society, including the initiation of the Illuminares Evening Lantern Procession, and the Parade of the Lost Souls.
Since 2005 Paula has been artist in residence at Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, creating the annual All Souls event with long time collaborator Marina Szijarto. She is also artist in residence at Royal Oak Burial Park.
Now living on Vancouver Island, where she continues to explore her role as an artist in her community, Paula is committed to work that honours wild salmon, and is an active volunteer in her Victoria neighbourhood of James Bay.
Marina Szijarto is a Visual and Celebration Artist with a diverse and eclectic arts practice who works within the medium of Theatre, Dance and performance (Set, Costumes & Poster design) and Community-engaged Rites and Celebrations.
She is the Art Director/Designer at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery’s ‘All Souls’ event and Creative Director of ‘A Midsummer Fete’ a community celebration at Colony Farm Regional Park.
Marina has been exploring the artist’s role in rites of passage (specifically death, funerals and mourning) for the last 15 years and has pioneered the use of Shrines to honour the dead in Vancouver community based events.
Originally from England, Marina is now blessed to live in a beautiful heritage floating shack on the mighty Fraser River with 2 little dogs, a large fluffy cat and a lovely human, surrounded by plants, birds and good neighbours.
Marina has a degree in Fine Art Embroidery, has previously been know to belly dance on stilts and play a little with fire. When she grows up she would, amongst other thing like to be a milliner for drag queens & little dogs, and travel the world making flower mandalas.