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.
Emptiness Before The Event, Gathering Of Strength And Resources
The Emptiness is about having mental space before the start of the exhibition. There is Emptiness in my studio too since all the paintings, including the Every Day Angels and the Jesus on the Tubes that accompany A Graceful Death have gone to Dublin with the main exhibition, but there is a necessary Emptiness in my mind before I go over and see what happens for this showing.
This Dublin Exhibition is a private showing and is invitation only. That is because the Dublin Hosts are giving the exhibition in their own home and not a public exhibition space. They have a home that will show the paintings extremely well, and are both extremely creative and very well connected. They have a guest list that would be the envy of any gallery - and they have given up their time and energy to making this A Graceful Death take its first steps in Ireland a good experience.
Before A Graceful Death shows anywhere I need to gather my energies and marshall my thoughts. This is not a static exhibition. It grows and changes with each time it goes public. It has started with my story, but what keeps it going is that my story is the same as everyone else that has been bereaved. The manner of death is Steve's own, but the fact that he died and I was left to live on is the same as everyone else who has lost someone. We are on a journey to then end of our own lives and life is never the same again. I have painted myself for this Dublin exhibition as a survivor. I am interested in painting other survivors, and all of us left to live on are survivors, whether we like it or not. I am interested in painting people at the end of their lives and those of us with lives still left to live. The big self portrait that I have done for this Dublin exhibition - which can be seen on the entry before this one - was my first attempt at this idea. I had envisaged a glorious painting of yellows and oranges, and of me with a calm, peaceful expression and my eyes benign and full of hope. What I got was glorious yellow and orange and a much tighter expression than I had expected. The serenity I hoped to capture is not completely there yet. A lesson to me, what I think and what I feel may be a little different.
So now, I am wondering what will happen next week when we show the paintings and hear what people say. I am looking forward to it, and hoping it will be as fascinating as the times before, when I have shown A Graceful Death. This Emptiness before the event, in that the paintings are all somewhere else out of my studio and house, waiting to be hung and arranged, will become the norm until at least March 2011. They will be taken directly from Dublin to Manchester where they will wait for their next showing. And by then, there should be at least one more painting to be shown. There is at least one more painting at every exhibition. And marshalling my thoughts? That always takes time and is so hard to find time for. A bit of space, silence and thinking time is essential before walking into the A Graceful Death arena. The subject of the exhibition - paintings from the end of life - the passion, the importance of everything that goes with dying, need some time for me to gather strength to do it justice. I do hope you come and see the exhibition when you can. It is so full of love and hope. You would be surprised.