PhotographyAnne-Marie Littenberg

The Memorial Landscape

Cemeteries are generally public parks landscaped to memorialize the dead. This is just inside the entrance to the Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamon.


Besides being a place to bury remains, cemeteries honor memory, and provide insight into art and culture. Who was the artist who could make marble diaphanous?


Some statuary make me think of mourning maidens who keep watch in enormous, cultivated landscapes deserted of the living.


Their heads are always bowed.

_DSF6609 edited flattenedIt is also interesting to think about where a community locates its cemetery. The Santa  Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, lays between the walls of Castillo San Felipe del Morro (which dates back to 1529) and the Ocean. DSCF2172web

It includes a cordoned off decaying loggia.


Mausoleums are sometimes open, and you can see there have been visitors.


There is abandonment and vandalism.


There is also careful maintenance.


The cemetery may reflect past and present aspirations of the community. This construction site in the middle of the Puerto Rico National Cemetery was abandoned quite some time ago. Was it supposed to be a chapel? A sign advertising SONY keeps watch.


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