French-Italian artist inspired by Filipino funeral customs

Apparently, bereavement goes down easier with a dash of Filipino tradition.

Franco-Italian artist Wolfgang Natlacen is challenging the way we pay our respects to the dead by designing a functional tomb.

“Momtomb,” an installation in a small cemetery in Mons-en-Montois in France, is part-eternal resting place, part-picnic table and part-park bench. 

The artwork is meant to be a place where people can meet, share a conversation and have lunch together—an objective that pays tribute to the way Filipinos celebrate the dead.

The tomb, which is still empty, already has an intended tenant—the artist’s own mother, Patricia LeGrand.  An artist herself, LeGrand took three years before coming to terms with the idea of having her son build her own tomb.                                              

Natlacen first became aware of Filipino burial customs through a friend who told him about All Saints’ Day celebrations in the Philippines. He designed and commissioned the artwork and took three years to finish.

 For the project, Natlacen used six tons of hard limestone and enlisted the help of Italian artists in carving the installation.

The artwork can be found online at , complete with an online store that sells “I bury Mom” shirts.

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