Quebec's 1st-ever death expo attempts to break taboo, offer comfort in afterlife
Expo offers urns as busts of loved ones, coffin tests and paintings with ashes
"What are the two common threads between us all?" the founder of Quebec's first-ever death expo, the Salon de la mort, asks.
"We are all born and we all die."
And yet, Phoudsady Vanny says, one is celebrated and planned for while the other is almost taboo.
This weekend, organizations and companies that make up the industry surrounding death gathered at the Palais des congrès in Montreal.
Notaries and funeral homes set up booths, along with artists who create pieces using ashes and those who arrange funerals for pets.
"It's a community of people that have maybe figured out non-conventional ways in dealing with end-of-life," Vanny said.
Death is 'scary, but reality"
André Dubois came with friends to check out what was on offer at the expo.
Diagnosed with colorectal cancer in February, Dubois says his last round of chemotherapy is at the end of the month but here he is, just in case.
"It's hard to leave, this is why [death] is scary, probably," he said. "But it's also reality. We need to be prepared."
Turning death into art
Anthony Riccio turned his passion for painting into a service that offers family members a different way of remembering those who have passed on.
After a friend's father died, Riccio took his ashes and painted them into the canvas.
"I would have paid a lot of money to have my mom in my living room," he said.
The paintings are tailored to what the family members think would best fit the deceased's taste.
The expo also showcases artists who put the ashes into jewlery or those who, instead of urns, make busts of the deceased for the ashes.
There is also a rest area that contains two coffins: one for testing out, and the other to draw on.
The expo is on Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $11.50 for admission.
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