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Suse captures grief of Pan Am families

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By Fiona Reid
Suse captures grief of Pan  Am families

A GRIEVING mother turned the pain of losing her son in the Lockerbie disaster into a powerful art work dedicated to all victims of terrorism.

Sculptor Suse Lowenstein channelled her sorrow into creativity after Alexander’s tragic death 32 years ago today.

And what started as a very personal piece has grown into a universal appeal for peace.

Titled ‘Dark Elegy’, it comprises 75 figures depicted in varying states of anguish. They represent the mothers and wives whose loved ones also died in the 1988 Pan Am bombing.

It covers the lawn at her East Hampton home in America and Suse describes it as her most meaningful work.

She said: “It depicts the very moment in which these women learned of the death of their loved one(s) aboard that flight.

“I consider Dark Elegy my most important work to date and most likely for all time.”

Following the tragedy, Suse sculpted herself frozen into the position she fell upon hearing the news of her son’s death.

Word of her work soon spread and other victims’ families came forward to be included.

Suse said: “As a sculptor, it is natural for me to shape, form and translate my emotions into large human figures.

“I started creating other figures in various expressions of grief, pain and rage. When other women who had lost loved ones on Pam Am 103 learned of my work, many expressed a desire to contribute to this project. One by one they come into my studio, step onto a posing platform, close their eyes and went back to December 21, 1988, to that horrible moment when they learned that their loved one had died. “They allowed their bodies to fall into the position that it took upon hearing that most devastating news. Some scream, some beg, some weep, some pray, some curl into a ball, while others raise their fists in anger and despair.

“This is the moment that I freeze in time.”

STATEMENT . . . the full piece is in the grounds of her East Hampton home

In addition, small mementos of the victims have been placed into the individual sculptures and she also inscribed each figure with the names of both the woman posing and that of the person lost.

Hopeful that Dark Elegy will demonstrate “what hate can do, both to people and to countries”, Suse added: “It should be a reminder that life is fragile and that we can lose that which is most precious to us so easily, and have to live with that loss for the reminder of our lives.”

Her dream is to donate the memorial to the public and see it placed on a prominent site so it can be visited by everyone.

She added: “This sculpture needs no language, it is understood by all. It is not political in any partisan sense. It knows no borders.

“It will be a beacon for all peace loving people.”

Alexander Lowenstein was 21 when he was killed in the skies above Lockerbie. The Syracuse University senior was on his way home for Christmas, having just spent a semester at the London campus.

Suse and husband Peter also built a stone cairn near Tundergarth to remember their son.


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