Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Introduction To This Blog

"A Graceful Death" Exhibition
by Antonia Rolls
Friends House Priory Road Chichester West Sussex
7 - 13 December 2009
"Chichester Quakers are pleased to host in their place of worship, The Friends' Meeting House in Priory Road, Chichester this exhibition from Antonia Rolls which centres on “A Graceful Death”, the story, in pictorial form, of the struggle of the human body against the final stages of liver cancer. The show is both a tribute to her partner, Steve Shaw, the subject of Antonia’s paintings, and a celebration of the life force inside us all, even so close to death."

The exhibition concentrates on the last three weeks of Steve’s life, and the day of his death. I show the change from the healthy outdoor man to the jaundiced and confused and skeletal figure that he became in only a few weeks.

I want to show the miracle of life and death, the power of our spirit to keep going and the majesty and awe of death which is beyond explanation. This exhibition will put us in touch with our mortality.

The exhibition will feature paintings of Steve’s final days and the day he died, with paintings too of how much I felt his loss. Death is a universal experience, and this will touch all those who have experienced cancer and the loss of a loved one whether from this disease or not. The exhibition is painted with sharp honesty and compassion, with touches of gentle wit.
One of the Chichester Quakers says, "Although Quakers give more attention to the way we live our lives, death is an inevitable fact of life and a subject that many people nowadays avoid confronting until they have to. As Quakers we are advised that "accepting the fact of death, we are freed to live more fully" (Quaker Faith & Practice 1.02.30). We hope that this brave exhibition may enable others to think about and gradually come to temrs with this experience and perhaps be able to discuss their feelings and wishes with their family and friends".

The Rev Rob Gillion of Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square, London says of Antonia’s work -
“I know what patient care and prayerful thought goes into each painting by Antonia. She will spend time listening as the gifts and interests and personalities of the subjects are described. It is a real journey of delight accompanying her as she slowly unfolds a family and their stories.”

All proceeds to go to St Barnabas Hospice, Worthing and St Wilrids Hospice, Chichester

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