Artist Projects

Leper and Sky Burial

Ellen Bruno

Leper and Sky Burial consists of three 18-minute video works. These videos allow viewers to examine their relationship to sickness, aging, and death through the lens of our own and other cultures. The first video, Sickness, is the love story of a Nepalese couple disfigured by leprosy, juxtaposed with images of their beautiful 12-year old daughter. This video challenges common assumptions of beauty, and addresses taboos associated with linking sickness and sexuality. Following Sickness, Old Age documents a cosmetic surgery procedure to reveal America’s obsession with youth, and its efforts to defy age and mortality. Death, the final video, details a Buddhist ritual in northern Tibet called “sky burial,” in which human remains are fed to vultures. As a meditation on impermanence, the sky burial contrasts with traditional American attitudes toward death.

Project Updates

  • 2007: Skin and Bones premieres at Film Forum in New York