Wednesday, September 9, 2009


nothing to mark the graves

In creating this page Mary wanted to show how the babies at Hart Island really had no place for someone to see where they were buried. She writes on the tissue-paper, thin "ghost" of a tombstone "NO story, NO obituary, NO service, NO headstone, NO marker, NO visitors, NO mourner, NO notice, NO testimonial, NO flowers." Their names are written across the page with historic information collaged onto tombstone shapes. Faint outlines of what might have been indicating a certain emptiness and loneliness on this page.

hand drawn coffins and bones

Here Mary has drawn an open trench filled with the tiny boxes of baby coffins, at the base broken and bones spilled onto the landscape. Because of shear lack of space the trenches at Hart Island are turned over every so many years to make room for more burials.

Out of plain manila folders she had created a truly authentic toe tag with accurate information about a baby who died on Nov. 25 1898.

She used rubber stamps, wire, printed and cut pages, oil pastels and colored pencil to complete the piece.

All photos and artwork in this post property of Mary C. Leto © 2009

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