Allerzielen Alom

The theme of death

The reason that Ida van der Lee and many others have been inspired to work on this project has to do with the richness of the theme and issues surrounding death. The search for artistic answers comes in contact with many areas, and touches the core of essential questions about our culture, and our religious and spiritual needs. The mystery of death and the imagination are a duality. The voids in human existence can be filled by daring to imagine.

The relationship between art and death
The secularisation of society has left a spiritual and thus artistic void because the contact with religion has been lost. People are searching for the own personal religion. Art can rise above the materialistic and bring about a transcendental influence. Since avant-garde art no longer serves religion, it also no longers serves death. Art is supposed to be autonomous, but that way, it has lost its credibility with the general public. Reestablishing the relationship between art and death is thus a challenge for our field.

The many intense visitor reactions, and the results of research conducted by the Radboud University (Nijmegen) show that Allerzielen Alom has a healing effect. This has fed the desire to continue with Allerzielen Alom until it has taken root, until the concept has been transferred and has sunk into society’s subconscious, until there are enough examples which can be taken over by citizens and communities.

Allerzielen Alom is a ritual which brings people together. It provides tools to help them commemorate and share their departed. However, this is not something which is self-evident; form and meaning play an important role. Artists are those who have a good feel for this. They ensure that rituals do not degenerate into ‘meaningless’ artsy activities. Artists provide time, the location, and the environment with meaning and substance.

‘Human durability’
Durability appears high on every political and strategic agenda. But the durability of humanity is never spoken about. Who do we have to thank for our vision and our inspiration? Where do we come from? The traces of those who went before us are being erased more often. Those who do the erasing let people get lost. This occurs with increased migration. People no longer live near their departed. However, cremations and the emptying of graves also contribute. Allerzielen Alom looks for forms to fill these voides. Human heritage is recycled by recalling the thoughts, inspiration and memories of the survivors and giving them form. Human durability is the result.

Cultural heritage
History, and with that, cultural heritage, have always been important factors for Ida van der Lee. Cultural heritage appears at all levels within Allerzielen Alom. Cemeteries are a community’s archives in stone. They are cultural heritage, whether or not they have the official status of a monument. We search for locations for Allerzielen Alom celebrations with a strong ‘Genius Loci’. During the evening, the locations are transformed by art into special ritual landscapes and serve a collective goal. All Souls’ Day, an old Catholic tradition, is itself cultural heritage, as are the stories and memories of next of kin. Art and cultural heritage are brought together for a diverse public in an inspiring and active manner.