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.
The paintings will all be going to stay in Dublin for the next showing of A Graceful Death. I am interested to see how the Irish will react to the exhibition. The paintings will be shown over the half term week and I will post the reactions and comments I get then. There is a chance that the paintings will then go on to another Irish destination, for a Festival. But as that is not finalised I will say no more just yet.
What is happening in A Graceful Death at the moment? It is a time of organising, of painting and of expanding. I have two more paintings to complete, and some more poetry to write up from people who have come to the exhibition and want to participate. I am looking to find ways of making the paintings reach more people, and am researching new and interesting venues. Along with this, I am finding much new support and help in the finding of new material and assistance in the whole organising of the work. I still make no money from it, so funding has been important. Donations to the A Graceful Death fund have made a huge difference - even the travel costs to the places in which we exhibit is huge. There is enough now to take the paintings to Dublin, and to Manchester in February and to Birmingham again in November of next year. This is excellent.
The exhibition is no longer just about me. It started with my story, of the death and the loss of my partner Steve, who died so gracefully in November 2007. All the paintings I needed to do to help myself in my grief are done - except for one more. I want to paint a large self portrait of the Survivor. The pain of loss is devastating but it does not always remain as bad. You can and often do, move on and surprise yourself with how normal and happy your life can be. I want to paint myself at the other end of this experience. I want to paint the next stage in the life of a Person Left Behind By The Death Of A Loved One, and I look forward to seeing how that will turn out.
After this final Steve painting, I will be concentrating solely on those who want to be included. I am open to suggestions. I would love to paint those at the very end of life, but they would have to know about this exhibition and agree to it. It has happened, with Anne and Peter Snell. That painting features in a previous post; Peter wanted to be included in A Graceful Death before he died, so that his death could help others. He did not live to see the painting finished. His widow, Anne Snell, is now an ardent supporter of this exhibition. I would like to paint those who have just died if the relatives wish it and give permission. Each person in the exhibition will be given a write up, to explain their story and their involvement in the A Graceful Death. Every image will be true entirely to the person involved, their story will be very specially documented to be shown with their painting, which of course, I will do.
I am also helping with a project on Angels at a hospice near here, in September. That I very much look forward to, and will find myself learning more and more, from the people who are taking this journey into the end of life.