The MonDak Heritage Center will host The Graveyard Speaks: The Pathos of Ghost Town Cemeteries
by artist Lee Silliman October 1 through December 1, 2016. The exhibit is free and open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 4pm, and Saturdays, 1pm to 4pm.
This exhibit explores the final page of our ineluctable passage. In his travels throughout Montana and other western states to old mining camps and ghost towns, black and white photographer Lee Silliman seeks out their abandoned cemeteries, for these hallowed grounds are a palpable record of the former community’s struggle for life. He ferrets out those monuments – stone and wooden – which reveal our forebears’ tribulations, as well as their fervent hopes for eternal reunion with loved ones. All too often children’s headstones dot the enclosure, for until the last 100 years, humankind marshaled but feeble resistance to the onslaught of childhood diseases. Indeed, the expressions of grief chiseled upon the multitude of headstones of deceased children are most heartrending – and there was no balm.
By utilizing an 8”x10” view camera loaded, by making nuanced 8”x10” contact prints in his own darkroom, and by framing these results in his own picture frame shop, the photographer has sought to create an attractive union of art and history.