By Aletha Blayse
Artwork (and artwork placement)
The circular metal artwork is by Jason Tremewen of Metalistik Wall Art: https://www.metalistik.com.au/ .
The mandala is based on one of Daddy’s paintings; the photo of Daddy is from 1972. I don’t know the name of the photographer, but the image conversion / rendering was done by Elizabeth McNamee of TimeLens Digital Imaging: http://www.timelens.com.au/
Sylvia tells me the photo was originally taken for a publication by the Alumni Association at University of Queensland, to mark the occasion of Lew’s election as President of the Students Union in 1971 or 1972.
– Elizabeth took this photo and made it suitable for conversion into metal artwork after learning about Jason’s technique
– Jason used a brushing technique over the metal artwork to create a sense of movement as you walk around the memorial (but he didn’t brush the metal on Daddy’s photo and it’s almost mirror-like – picking up the colours of the sky)
– The photo of Daddy is around about the time that he made the decision to devote his life to politics – there is an age when a person is most ‘themselves’ and Daddy returned to this young man in his last year in which he blogged, so it was the right image of him to use
– My sister chose the photo of Daddy and describes it as his ‘Che Guevara’ photo
– Daddy’s face can be seen as you walk up the hill towards the memorial in the direction of Mt Coot-tha
– The mandala is the beauty of Daddy’s mind, the colour and movement and brilliance ‘behind’ his static black and white photograph
– My sister chose the quotes – An excerpt from St Exupery’s ‘The Little Prince’ was read out at the funeral to try to help the people in attendance not feel so sad, to express my sister’s view of the afterlife (but also to comfort Aletha for going to sleep instead of staying up to look after Daddy the night he died, when Daddy told her to sleep and not stay up)
“All life is transitory … in a place where no shadows fall” quote: Babylon 5, Confessions and Lamentations, S2, E18 (TV series, 1995). (Text layout by Crystal Potter of Crystal Potter Designs).
* The “all life is transitory” quote is from the Babylon 5 episode summarized ,here: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/synops/040.html The words are spoken by Delenn to Sheridan, to explain about the role of sacrifice and the triviality of giving ourselves to a difficult cause; we all see each other again after the difficulty of life on Earth is over
* The ‘shadows’ in Babylon 5 represent a race of alien beings, but the inspiration for them came from the concept of the shadow in Jungian psychology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_(psychology)
* The ‘shadows’ in life might also be those officers of the Salvos who used their power to brutalize children, or any oppressive institution or group of people; even a person who feels they can cast their darkness upon our light. They might also be our pain.
* A place where no shadows fall is a place in the afterlife, where we will be reunited wholly with those we had to say goodbye to here on Earth
“All men have the stars … Let me go on by myself“ quote: The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry English translation. (Text layout by Crystal Potter of Crystal Potter Designs).
-Daddy is represented for me and my sister by St Exupery’s wonderful tale ‘ The Little Prince’ – for a character analysis, see http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/littleprince/character/the-little-prince/ (not just a reference to his aristocratic personality, but also because he was a self-described “social nomad” who got to gaze in on the mightiest and the lowliest in his childhood. He saw much more than any adult could realise he was seeing, because he was so keenly observant: http://www.lewisblayse.com/?page_id=194)
– A message of hope that when we look to the stars, we see our loved ones and know that they are happy and free
– A reinforcement of the message that corporeal life is transitory
– Consolation for all those whose last sight of the person they love is their dead body, but that this was just his ‘shell’ (“I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy” from ‘The Little Prince’). We’re saying that we understand that for him to go into the universe (https://lewisblayse.net/2014/01/31/love-to-all/), he needed to discard his body, as we all have to do one day.
– The little rose at the end of the quote could be anyone but Aletha actually placed it where she did as a message from her to Sylvia, about what Daddy said to his elder daughter the day before he died. He was wanting to talk to Sylvia again because of everything she did for him: “the prince learns that what is most essential is invisible, that time away from one’s beloved causes a person to better appreciate that love” (from ‘The Little Prince’).
For an analysis of the character of the rose in The Little Prince, see http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/littleprince/character/the-rose/ (We also buried the bead roses my sister made for Daddy with him, so the rose is a reference to the gifts she gave Daddy too)
– The rose is also symbolic of Daddy’s anti-authoritarianism: https://mashable.com/2017/05/27/hidden-meaning-rose-emoji-dsa/#173EPqeK9kqX
Photo taken by Michael Meadows
– A deliberate choice was made not to record dates of birth and death, because these mark only a small part of the overall journey of a soul and so are irrelevant to us as a family
– Lewin Blazevich to Lewis Blayse: the ability we all have to reinvent ourselves at any stage of our life; no-one can tell us who we are – we can decide for ourselves who we are
– No mention of relatives because it’s impossible to write out all the people he cared for and who cared about him …
– Sourced from Macedonia, Daddy’s father’s home.
– Called Sivec marble, used from ancient times to today (https://www.mindat.org/loc-159397.html) – a connection to the past
– Marble chosen for Daddy’s memorial in part because marble comes from the ancient Greek word marmaírō), “to flash, sparkle, gleam” http://www.worldofstones.com/blog/darmeta-marble-detailed-description/ (like Daddy’s wit and intellect and a play on the name “Blayse”)
When my sister sees him in dreams, he is so often delivering a lecture to an enthralled audience (much as in the attached picture, representing his student leadership days at UQ) as if he were an ancient Greek philosopher (also a reference to his love of teaching)
– Aletha designed the memorial after studying architectural phenomenology (e.g., http://www.abiboo.com/arch/quick-tour-through-phenomenological-thinking-in-architecturequick-tour-through-phenomenological-thinking-in-architecturequick-tour-through-phenomenological-thinking-in-architecture/). She decided that as well as creating visual (eye) beauty, the sense she wanted to evoke was the numinous: https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10036/3141/FurzeR.pdf?sequence=1 (as regards to her and her sister’s spiritual beliefs) rather than ‘the eyes of the skin’ or other parts of the ‘seeing’ body (she designed it herself also because Australia’s only memorial architect designs memorials with a preference for tactility as his phenomenological design mode. The family didn’t feel this was ‘right’ for Daddy’s memorial – the memorial is not intended to invite touch).
– Aletha also needed to create something that her sister said could be understood and translated into a memorial somehow by watching this video (Sleeping in Light, last 5 minutes) clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znNciln7qwY (this was where her sister asked Aletha to start in working out what to do with the memorial)
– The brushing in the mandala creates movement to remind us that while a memorial may be static, our loved one is not static and keeps watching over us, communicating with us, etc.
– One experience occurs as you walk up the hill towards the top of Mt Coot-tha and the TV towers at the top, walking in much the same way as Daddy and the other boys from Alkira tried, to get someone “up higher” to pay attention by trying to scale Mt Coot-tha. Daddy’s expression is a bit sad, maybe because he knows he may never see the summit he’s trying to reach.
As we walk up the hill, let us remember “Let no child walk this path again”: Daddy said this in his last interview: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-03/abuse-victim-lewis-blayse-final-interview/5235734). Although he was referencing the inscription on the Hay Girls Memorial (http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/culture/crime/display/21543-hay-girls-home), the statement applies to any child victim, and references all Forgotten Australians. It also invites us to continue our journey of discovery of the plight of Forgotten Australians and their families (e.g., here: https://forgottenaustralianfamily.com/2018/01/30/why-are-forgotten-australians-still-invisible-after-all-the-government-inquiries/)
– If we sit on the wooden seat that faces the mandala (see far left of image below), we sit much as Delenn in Babylon 5 sat every day after Sheridan died. When we sit in the cemetery on the seat and look at the mandala, the real sun and the mandala ‘sun’ rise in the East. See this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znNciln7qwY to understand also that Daddy often comes to sit beside us, and he’d possibly sit beside anyone who wanted to sit and reflect upon the mandala and the lessons of The Little Prince and whatever else, just like he comes to sit with us when my sister sings in the choir at their concerts (https://www.brisbaneconcertchoir.com/) …
* For key themes in The Little Prince, see http://thebestnotes.com/booknotes/Little_Prince_Exupery/The_Little_Prince_Study_Guide13.html (esp. looking beneath the surface of things)
* For the symbolism of the mandala and its role in meditation, see http://spiritualawakening.weebly.com/mandalas-what-are-they.html
– The memorial is also at the base of a spreading tree, evocative of the tree of life (also buried with Daddy are bead trees of life my sister made for him), but also relevant because Daddy wanted his body to serve a purpose of helping provide life to a tree (he wanted to be buried beneath a tree)
* For the universality of the tree of life (and link to the tree of knowledge) see https://www.universeofsymbolism.com/tree-of-life-meaning.html
– The mandala is also a ‘reference’ to Babylon 5, Season 5 (season called “Wheel of Fire”), in which it is said by an older and wiser Susan Ivanova at the end (https://www.quotes.net/show-quote/7412) of the last episode in the season:
“Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. There would never be another. It changed the future…and it changed us. It taught us that we have to create the future, or others would do it for us. It showed us that we have to care for one another, because if we don’t, who will? And that true strength sometimes comes from the most…unlikely places. Mostly though, I think it gave us hope-that there can always be new beginnings…even for people like us.”
(There will never again be another Daddy, but he changed us and taught us important things, including the knowledge that there can always be new beginnings, “even for people like us” (we are all of us flawed, etc…. )
Choice of Queensland Heritage Masonry
– an award-winning firm
– a caring and sensitive approach to memorial design and construction
– an important part of the overall effort to preserve Queensland’s history (http://www.qhm.com.au/about) (Daddy is an important part of Australian history – showing us what “a real Australian” is – see Julia Gillard letter)
Location – extra notes
– near the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (where Daddy got his love of gardening: http://www.lewisblayse.com/?page_id=194)
– as we look at the mandala in the setting of the beautiful trees in the cemetery, it’s evocative of the Tropical Display Dome which Daddy loved (https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/facilities-recreation/parks-venues/parks/brisbane-botanic-gardens-mt-coot-tha/attractions/tropical-display-dome) – Daddy was born in the tropics
The memorial is at the base of what appears to be an amphitheater spreading up the hill – another reference to my sister’s dreams of Daddy giving lectures (but also a reference to Daddy’s student days, e.g., anti-Vietnam war talks, etc.)
Aletha is the daughter born to Lewin and me in 1975. She and her father shared a love of discovery and a passion for knowledge.
I am so grateful to my two daughters who saved for four years to pay for the memorial, and to E for her contribution.