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I went to Birmingham yesterday to discuss the A Graceful Death being shown there. I was late arriving, which was a pity, but still saw most of the people I was meant to see. I took some of the paintings with me so they could relate to the real items, not just the photographs.
When we have dates set for this exhibition, I will give an address on the meaning of the paintings and the meaning of dying. I have only had, yet, this one experience of it. I need the input of other people, many of whom have has this experience more than once. People react so differently to death and dying. Either their own or someone elses. I wonder if we react as we think we will. I didn't. I think I surprised myself utterly with what I chose to get me through the first few days, weeks, months and first year of bereavement.
At Birmingham I met with a dear friend who has set all this up for me. She was and is, so full of compassion and intelligence. She introduced me to her colleagues who made me very welcome and said, and this feels very good, perceptive and insightful things about the exhibition and effect of the paintings. They are not taking this lightly and are making sure that there is enough in place should anyone want to talk or cry or be angry.
I met a lady who's mother had recently died. Her response to the paintings was generous and spiritually uplifting. Her grief and the power she felt of her loss was so apparant. But she absolutely understood the whole need to generate the conversation about death and dying that this exhibition is aiming for. She understood it from deep inside her own pain and bereavement. I was very moved by her words and response. My dear friend too, who has organised the whole idea of exhibition up in Birmingham, understands the need to discuss and see images of the end of life. She is deeply sensitive. She is a poet and writer too and I have one of her poems in my studio to keep me going. I will ask her if I can put it into the exhibition, as it was the one I kept referring to when I was first without Steve.
London is going well as far as I can see. Clarissa de Wend Fenton, who is hosting and sponsoring the exhibition (along with Michael Copeman and Ralph C Rolls) is doing so much to support and help. Without her, I would be lost! Thank you Clarissa.
Please come to the two Private Views too, on Wednesday 24 Feb and Sunday 28 Feb from 6pm to 9pm.
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