"Coral Fantasy", acrlyic on paper, 1965 Henri van Bentum, Private Collection
In Loving Memory: Saturday, May 27th marked the deployment of Henri’s reef into the Salish Sea off the coast of Vancouver Island, at a dive and snorkelling site located near the Ten Mile Point ecological reserve. Living Reef Memorial, the reef was created from Henri’s cremated ashes, crushed oyster and other seashells, low alkaline cement and sand. The reef has a ceramic plaque honouring Henri.
Soon Henri’s reef will be visited and inhabited by many underwater creatures.
For many years, Henri went on snorkelling / dive expeditions to such faraway locations as the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Indonesia. He had a great love for all creatures of the seven seas. In addition to circumnavigating the planet by ship three times, in his eighth decade Henri wrote five children’s books, three of which feature coral reefs and the sea.
In the photo above, the arrow points to the reef at the back of the boat, about to be deployed.
I only learned about Living Reef Memorial after Henri left us to continue his journey, but I know he would have found joy in the concept of “from cremation to creation”.
Here is a photo of Henri, back in in 2017, with his first children's book,
"King Neptune's Jewels with Fins and Tails", hot off the press
Natasha van Bentum
Henri's partner of 51 years