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Anti-Memorial to Heroin Overdose Victims

In the year 2000, 331 people in Victoria died of a drug overdose. Those people would have typically remained nameless in the public realm, a group that society preferred not to acknowledge or mourn. Inspired by the fundamental question of 'who do we select as worthy of memorials?', SueAnne Ware decided to humanise those people and bring their deaths into the public domain with an installation on some of St Kilda's busy streets.

It was meant to be confronting: individuals were asked to reconsider their perception of intravenous drug users and how they are remembered and commemorated, asking them to see those who died not as nameless and faceless but rather as valued people who are missed by their community and family.

Ware states that the mission of this project was to 'improve the human spirit', an aim that embodies her humanitarian approach to her work. It exemplifies her belief that landscape architecture can be a powerful physical catalyst for social change even at a local scale and in a short time frame.

The Anti-Memorial for Heroin Overdose Victims was awarded the 2002 National Award for Design Excellence by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and a 2002 RMIT Research Innovation Award.

 The Anti-Memorial to Heroin Overdose Victims, as it was known, consisted of three design elements: a floral tribute of poppies; a narrative taken from personal statements about the victims created with stencilled text; and a memorial to victims made from illuminated resin plaques that incorporated their personal items.

The Anti-Memorial to Heroin Overdose Victims, as it was known, consisted of three design elements: a floral tribute of poppies; a narrative taken from personal statements about the victims created with stencilled text; and a memorial to victims made from illuminated resin plaques that incorporated their personal items.

 Its location meant that the installation was passed by a broad section of the public from tourists, families and shoppers to sex workers and IV drug users.

Its location meant that the installation was passed by a broad section of the public from tourists, families and shoppers to sex workers and IV drug users.

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