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Here I am giving the Opening Night speech. There were over 60 people there, and it was a wonderful occaision. There were about the same number at the Closing Night Party on Sunday.
I think the main success of the exhibition is that it enables people to talk. Visitors talked about what was in their hearts and minds, without fear that it would be innapropriate. The exhibition is not heavy. It is full of life and love and sadness and bereavement. It is what you bring to it. We do want to talk about How To Die. We do want to talk about what has happened to us, and we want it to be heard in a sympathetic, normal and empathetic way. If we want to cry, it is fine. It is neither necessary nor discouraged. It just Is. Here are some comments from this London exhibition -
"Thank you for inspiring and providing help through painful experiences for me and so many others. Never hold back because it is the truth in this art that makes it so beautiful."
Now the exhibition will begin in Birmingham on Monday. I will give an address on that day, and will have the launch in the evening. I am being given so much opportunity here, to speak from the heart and make the whole exhibition shine. I will include the next image too - a pretty and much loved cat called Snowy. I did not think to include pets, but goodness they are important. I have only one day to paint the image. At every exhibition I want to include at least one more person either in a painting I will do, or in a poem sent to me which I will set up. And I have only received the image today, and will go this weekend, painting Snowy is just right.
I received too, my first request from a dying man in a Hospice to come quickly, take photos of him, as he is not expected to last the week. He wants to help other people, he says, and wants to be a part of the exhibition. His name is Peter Snell, and he is a gentleman, an inspiration and a brave and thoughtful man. He is my aunts husband. Both Peter and my aunt Anne requested that he was included. They will be painted together for the next venue, in Oxford if all goes to plan, and their painting will be about love. Peter is next to death, is dying of cancer, and Anne is beautiful, compassionate and so loving. This is where Peter finds just how much he is loved. I will take much time and thought on this picture when I do it.