Sumatra Tsunami Memorial - A Line of Tears
On the morning of December 26th 2004, a catastrophic earthquake of magnitude 9.3 struck off the northwest coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It was the second largest earthquake ever recorded, and it deformed the seafloor, displacing massive volumes of water to create a giant tsunami, ultimately killing nearly 300,000 people. The morning after the catastrophe, the Norwegian Government put The National Foundation for Art in Public Buildings in charge of creating a memorial site in Norway to honor the victims. The National Foundation invited artists and designers who work within the fields of art, craft, architecture, and landscaping, amongst others, to participate in an open international competition. The Memorial Site was to be open to all - a space for mourning for, and contemplation of those who have experienced traumatic events in their lives.
The design is a living memorial, which creates a trace pointing towards Sumatra, since the disaster is so removed from the competition site. This serves as a physical and symbolic element that links the design to its subject matter. Evoking eyes filled with tears of sorrow, the Line - a two layered glass - weeps. Drops of water cover the surface of the glass and blur the viewer’s vision of the memorial. Visitors on one side are scarcely able to see what is happening on the other, where others appear only as a silhouettes. The mourners’ loss is evoked in the shadows of the living, while one walks along The Line pointing towards Sumatra. Each step becomes an act of prayer, and the commemoration of the victims is furthered as visitors deposit ‘memory objects’ in the slot between the two glass panels.[…] [×]