The baby in this plaque is my brother Robert who died as a baby from the brain tumour. It may or may not be a coincidence that Robert was conceived while my dad, a soldier in the Australian army, was stationed at Woomera in South Australia near where the British were conducting their nuclear testing at the time.
My mum asked me to make a plaque for my brother’s grave as the writing has worn off the existing one and she doesn’t want the grave to look neglected. She is trying to have Robert’s grave preserved because the Western Australian Cemetery Board has decided to redevelop the area in which Robert’s grave is situated. This means they will remove all existing headstones and graves and turn the area into a lawn cemetery, adding new burial plots in between existing ones. My mother is worried that she will not be able to find Robert’s grave without anything there to mark it. This may not be a concern for many other people, due to the fact that this part of the cemetery is over 50 years old and most of the other inhabitants’ nearest relatives have probably passed on themselves. However, it is most distressing to my mother, who still mourns the loss of her child.
While I usually work in bright colours, I wanted to keep this mosaic fairly neutral so as to blend in with the surroundings at the cemetery. I included the gum leaf design as Robert’s grave is next to a huge gum tree which was just a sapling when he was buried in 1957. I know it pleases my mum to think of that big tree always sheltering her baby.
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