Ingrid Dee van Zyl
See it On Campus: Level 1Visitor Info
Find this project on the first floor in the Object Corner! (After the on-demand screening area)
A place to memorialize healthcare professionals who lost their lives to suicide. Share their stories and create a space to commemorate the lives lost.
Combining a physical and digital space to memorialize and commemorate those that dedicated their lives to healing others.
From the beginning, I decided that the purpose of the project is to increase awareness of suicide in the healthcare profession. I wanted to create a space where everyone who has been affected by similar traumatic events can feel their loved ones are being honoured, and know that there are others out there. We see the problem and it’s lasting effect on others.
The result is a connection between an online and in-person memorial. It takes the form of memorials submitted to a website, with corresponding ceramic lanterns added to a growing installation. This is currently a prototype… please contact Dee to make it a reality!
Where it Began
My dad, Dr. Andreas van Zyl, studied to become a general practitioner in South Africa at the University of Stellenbosch. He knew he wanted to be a doctor and help others, which turned into a passion. In the system, passion turned into burnout. Multiple occurences culminated into a stressful moment of his career, when he decided to take his own life.
I discovered that I am not alone in this situation, finding out more about issues in the North American medical system that has led to and still causes tragedies. It got me reading more about the medical system structures/processes, mental health amongst healthcare professionals, and the different ways to cope with burnout.
Speaking to others, and hearing their pain, made me feel a need to look for something more… As much as I appreciate the steps being taken to acknowledge the issue, I felt that there is something missing. Traumatic events are memorialized across the world to honor those gone and help the survivors manage their grief. I believe healthcare professionals, helping so many people, also deserve a memorial to recognize their work in the field, and acknowledge suicide as a tragedy (note: they do exist… but none for suicide).
This project is an evolving journey to understand loss, grief, and how people remember. My intentions evolved from trying to directly fix a problem, to an acceptance of what has happened, to an understanding of the complexities in the project. The changes became a reflection of the changes in grief itself. There aren’t really stages, it was all over the place, always fluctuating, but I find a way to work with it.
How it Works
First, a memorial is created through the website. There is a submission form where you can write a name, or leave anonymous, and write more information.
After submission, you will be contacted for more information for approval.
The submission is reviewed and added to the memorial gallery, where you can send an invite to more friends and loved ones to write their memories on the page.
Only those with the link can add memories.
A lantern is created and placed with the other lanterns. You will get a notification that the lantern is complete, along with an image and coordinates to help you find it.
Once a year, on February 20th, the lanterns would light up and shine through the night.
How it’s Made
From sketching, to paper, to ceramic prototypes, eventually, a repeatable lantern form was created. Each lantern is made from slip casting a 12″x4″ cylinder, using a paper template to cut it, then formed. After firing twice, a handle is added. They can be hung up or placed on the ground with a small candle inside.
While I intended this version to be installed in one place, the project can turn into one of many meanings… and can be installed anywhere. We can come together to understand different deaths, feel empathy for one another, and know that everyone is grieving in their own way.
View the Website
Note: This project is currently a prototype as an undergrad project.
WayLiight can be installed anywhere for different interactions, creating a space to memorialize, remember, and reflect. At Emily Carr University, an interactive installation was installed to give people a chance to hang up a light for someone they lost. This version gives the first viewers a chance to memorialize anyone they have lost, especially in reflection of the last couple years in a global pandemic. Each light fades slowly, going out one by one over the days, leaving the memory of what has happened…
Want to See More Process?
That’s the end of this page! But you can read more of my research and process…