I have much to report today. I am very grateful and impressed by the response this exhibition is getting, and feel heartened about the whole venture. I do worry that I am showing paintings that are not easy to look at, and that may distress some. But on the other hand this is real, this is really how someone can look with advanced cancer. This is about the end of a life, and that in itself is a very uncomfortable topic. I may remind some of their own experience which is too hard for them. I may shock some who find all this disease and death too frightening to think about, I may make some angry because this seems so much indulgence.
Underneath all this is the respect and admiration I have for those who take on the task of easing the end of our lives. The Hospice Movement, Palliative Care Teams, all those who make it their business to make the process of dying and death as best as it can be. There are countless individuals who have nursed and cared for someone as they died. Goodness, this is such a big part of our lives.
And so. I want to take this exhibition around the country. I thought last night how good it would be for it to grow and include others who had stories to tell. I am inspired to paint the end of lives of other people for this exhibition, and to include written stories of experiences . My cousin Maddy had a very moving experience and is an expressive writer. My friend in London lost her father and took wonderful photos of their last time together at the hospital. Two other friends have stories to tell, one in a dvd video form as a play, and the other as a written story. There is so much scope for sharing this and honouring our dead.
A lovely friend in Germany has asked if the paintings can go there. The answer is Yes, if you can have them, Yes and Thank you. Another wonderful friend in Birmingham has suggested they may go there, and again Yes. Thank you. I have sent a few words and some images to the Palliative Care Conference for March 2010, that would be good.
And of course, the support and help and kindness of St Barnabas House Hospice (www.justgiving.com/agracefuldeath for donations to this wonderful place attached to this exhibition) who have opened wide so many possibilities for me. And I hope to meet with the equally wonderful St Wilfrids Hospice in Chichester, to see what we can do there.
On the 6 December I will be talking on the Faith Programme on BBC Radio Sussex about this exhibition. At about 8.40 am. Please listen, and please come to the exhibition and if you have a story to tell, please bring it.
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