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Dwelling is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the Boston Foundation for Architecture and individual donors.

Jay Cummings
Family Lot

Cast cement, foam

The typical Victorian family lot at Forest Hills is laid out to mimic both the architecture of the family home and the structure of family relationships. Jay Cummings has radically simplified Victorian individuality and ornamentation into a sculptural diagram of an iconic family lot floating on the surface of Lake Hibiscus. Water replaces the green lawn that separates monuments on land.

Artist's Statement
Many family lots within the cemetery are well defined: a rectangular boundary encloses markers organized around a central stone. A closer look reveals that each plot has qualities and a history of its own, reflecting real differences in how people live. Despite neighborhoods’ varying degrees of intolerance for dissimilarity (in housing, landscaping, building materials, architecture), each family is unique.

Family Lot is an abstraction of this idea. Like other cemetery lots, it maintains its shape, yet responds the natural environment. Its arrangement is neither random nor modeled on any particular lot. Its location in Lake Hibiscus separates and distances it from its less austere counterparts. It is a sketch, a reflection of the idea that creates the overall aesthetic in Forest Hills: that in death, as in life, we wish to have homes, and to be with our families.

Three small dwellings, nestled in hidden spaces, offer glimpses of the character and experience of imagined occupants. Walsh imagines spaces for poets Anne Sexton and ee cummings, both buried at Forest Hills. Sexton’s Room is tucked into a space at the end of a stone wall. Treehive is perched in the branches of a small crab-apple tree. The third dwelling hides in a framed hollow, a rare space created when a large canopy tree healed a gash; the tree stands in the middle of Camelia Path. It refers to the stubborn persistence of what has gone, the history of a person or place manifested in the physical traces it leaves behind.

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