Death: such an expected and common part of life. One should assume it would be embraced and accepted by now; yet it seems that our society is still disturbed by the very thought of what happens to a body after death. Embalming practices and burial techniques work to prevent a corpse from experiencing decomposition, and for a body to maintain its lifelike appearance even after it is buried. While cremation seeks to eliminate remains before it even has the opportunity to decay at all, decomposition is a natural process that should be embraced. Decay is an art within itself, and almost magical, as nature has the ability to take what was once a living person and transform it into almost nothing. Connecting aesthetically pleasing embellishments to grotesque imagery provides avenues for promoting death positivity.
About Sydney Leja
Sydney Leja was born and raised near Chicago, Illinois. In 2013 she received her Bachelor of Science degree in art and design education, and has been teaching high school art since 2014. In 2016, she relocated to the Oregon coast, enrolling in a graduate program at Pacific Northwest College of Art, in which she is a MFA candidate. For over a decade, she has been working with clay, using porcelain exclusively since 2018. Her work is influenced by natural history, medicine, and mortuary science. She strives for realism within her ceramic work, referencing live models, cadavers, and real osteological specimens to ensure accuracy. Her first solo exhibition, Beauty Within Death, showed at fourteen30 contemporary, in Portland, Oregon in July of 2020.