On December 26, 2004 a 9.0 earthquake near the west coast of Sumatra generated a tsunami that slammed into the coastline of 11 Indian Ocean countries, from east Africa to Thailand. By the end of the day 150,000 people had died. The final death toll was 283,000. Many tens of thousands of victims were swept out to sea.

We have all seen the photographs and videos of the 2004 tsunami and its horrific aftermath, as well as the equally similar and tragic event in Japan earlier this year. Words simply are not enough to provide a permanent tribute to such loss. It is humanity’s great gift to have artists who provide lasting memorials for the living and for future generations – static images that somehow come to life in the eyes and minds of the viewer. These memorials are as much a record of the event as the written word, or the photograph, or the cell phone video.

This post contains just a few of these monuments – from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Maldives, Indonesia, and Thailand. Each memorial possesses a different emotional power.