Tuesday 30 March 2010

Birmingham Finished Oxford Next

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Exhibition Goes To Oxford Next in July

I went with my 16 year old son Costya to Birmingham on Sunday to take down the AGD from Queens Theological College. It took a good day to set up and 2 hours to take down. Now all the paintings are behind me as I write, wrapped up in the studio, ready for the next Event.

How did Birmingham go? I think it went well in that this exhibition doesn't cheer you up and make you laugh. It is not about a Fun Experience, which is what I had aimed for before when putting on an exhibition. My Every Day Angels are about enjoyment and connection and fun and smiling and colour. A Graceful Death is about Death. About the End Of A Life. Bereavement. All experiences in our Human Condition and not very comfortable ones, and understandably so. But AGD is also so much about Love and Hope. How can someone you adore drift away to eternity and not leave you affected for ever? How can this event called Death not put into sharp focus all you do have, all the wonder of the life you are left to live, and the memory that you, little you, could love so profoundly and passionately? And that the passing of that object of your love has highlighted the power of this feeling and this love? We are blessed if we can love. We are blessed if we can dance someone out of this life.

The reception in Birmingham was one of painful facing of feelings. It was not, I am assured by the feedback I have received from the students there, about helpless pain and distress. The experience was one of Catharsis and working through the feelings of loss and love and grief. The students at Queens are mostly all ordained ministers, and most have experience of death. This exhibition caused them to look at and feel the passing of their own personal feelings of loss and sorrow. I heard from one wonderful lady vicar that I would not ever know the effect of the exhibition on her, how releasing and healing it had been. Her mother had recently died. Until that moment she had been very private, and I had no way of knowing if her experience of the paintings was good or not. Another very brave lady, I don't know her name, missed her husband oh so terribly. She cried before I spoke to the community and said that she felt she needed to stay. Throughout the talk I gave I could see her crying so painfully and knew she had decided what was best for her. I remember thinking she was a remarkable lady. A few hours after the talk was over she came to me still with tears in her eyes and on her cheeks, and said that she was filled with peace and joy. She had faced a storm of sorrow and was uplifted and full of hope.

If nothing else, these two ladies have made the exhibition in Birmingham more than successful. Steve, bless him, has helped to calm some very troubled feelings. His images, this exhibition, can do much good.

Oxford next! More details later when all is finalised. It will be in July.

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