The A Graceful Death Exhibition and Project by Antonia Rolls is about what it means to die. Portraits, paintings and words from the end of life. Powerful, moving, loving, uplifting, inspiring. The A Graceful Death Project includes talks, presentations, discussions, events connected to awareness raising of end of life issues. The latest news, exhibitions, events and developments will be available here.
I showed the painting of Anne and Peter Snell to Anne, as it was Peter's wish (supported by Anne) that it be done and included in the A Graceful Death exhibition. Anne is a graceful and deeply experienced lady, with a gift for doing good to people. She liked the painting - actually, she and her wonderful children found the painting extremely difficult to look at and were very upset by it, but not because they did not want the painting to be done. They were knocked sideways by the sight of Peter and Anne as they were for his last weeks, by the memories of that time spent loving him and allowing him to die in dignity and peace. After many tears and conversations amongst themselves and me, they have given me more than the go ahead. I have found Champions. Fearless, intelligent, experienced and brave champions. Anne Snell, with the support of her children, especially two of her daughters Maddy Pook and Jemima Lipari, have enabled A Graceful Death to find its first sponsorship money. Peter Snell has provided funds for good works and his wife and step children have given A Graceful Death enough money to put on two whole exhibitions, with all expenses paid. I cannot thank them enough.
I am looking for sponsorship. I am looking for donations. I am looking for funds to enable this amazing exhibition to tour the country. Many places have asked for it to be shown - I have so far, firm commitments from Birmingham, Manchester, Dublin and York. The exhibition goes to where it is needed and asked for, and needs funds to help it travel, advertise, for me to paint the new paintings, for me to print out all the wonderful new poetry and writings I am sent to include in the exhibition, for all the helpers who help me keep it going. Please think hard. Can you help? Can you donate anything to this A Graceful Death exhibition? I have been shown so far that it is possible to reach out to people and say that the memories of the passing of someone never goes away. It is a terrible and awesome gift to know, really know, that death will happen and it will happen to all of us. And we can grieve, and we can talk about it, and all our stories are important. What we have to say on this personal and sometimes terrible, sometimes miraculous subject, is necessary. Often, in the A Graceful Death exhibition, someone will come in and relive the loss of someone special. You may think this is unwelcome, and to be avoided. But it is not. It happens all the time to those who grieve. It is what happens, and for it to happen with those around who say, "Yes, it happened to us too, and look, it is fine to cry. And look at us now, we are never over it but our lives go on and we are so much better for this experience", for it to happen amongst those people, is a gift.
To come to the exhibition is a brave choice. You have to choose to come, you will never stumble upon it. You know you will be vulnerable to sorrow and you know you will see your own experience there amongst the paintings and writings. But - you will be affirmed. You will see it is more than fine to grieve, it is part of your life. I don't intend for the exhibition to weigh you down or to burden you. I aim for a connection with the End Of Life issues that you have experienced, and to affirm that you still live, and love, and that this real real thing that happened to you is Fine. It is OK. It happened and you are not alone. And now you are here, days, months, years after someone you loved or even someone you just knew, died. We can't chose who we grieve for, we just do it.