Wednesday 9 February 2011

Filming of A Graceful Death Starts Today (And Other News) for my website for the Jesus on the Tube image story and image for an account of an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis for a short film from the first weeks of creating the A Graceful Death exhibition by Bertram Somme

Filming Starts Today And Other News

Preparations for the Manchester A Graceful Death exhibition are moving along. The  exhibition details are below -
St Nicholas Church, 408 Kingsway, Burnage, Manchester M19 1PL

From Saturday 19 February to Friday 25 February
In the Church

Opening Times

Sunday to Friday open from 12 - 1 pm and from 7 - 8pm
All other viewings happily supplied via appointment through Rachel on 0161 432 7009 




Today, Neill Blume comes with his camera and we start.  We have decided to make a film with two story arcs.  

The first will be the creation of A Graceful Death - the story of how it began, and how it is still being created.  We will show how I manage the exhibition, how I take it to new venues, who I speak to, the nitty gritty of transporting the paintings and poetry, setting it all up and the process of inviting the public - or if it a private exhibition, inviting from a specially selected list.  All the publicity and the networking and the nuts and bolts behind the scenes will be charted.  Plus of course, Neill will interview members of the public who come and see the paintings.  He will talk to the families of those who have been painted for the exhibition, and what it means to take the decision to have a member of the family painted at the end of life.  There will undoubtedly be those who find the whole idea of A Graceful Death very difficult, and that will be important to chart.  Also taking part will be those who have helped in the making of the exhibition and who have hosted it.  What do they think of the exhibition now, after having agreed to host it?  

The second story arc will be the filming of those who are being painted for the exhibition.  Both those at the end of their lives, and those who I call Survivors.  Those of us who are left behind and somehow survive the grieving process.  We are very important people.  Life is still there for us, we have no choice but to go on living.  Before making a painting of someone for the exhibition, I go and meet them.  If possible we talk about what I am doing and what they want from it.  To spend time with the dying is sobering and humbling.  I cannot ever get used to it.  But I am compelled to honour this part of their lives, if I can.  And what they say can be so important.  When I went to speak to Peter Snell in his hospice, he was too ill to speak, and so his wife Anne spoke for me.  Peter didn't live to see the painting, but when he asked to be painted he was clear that he wanted his death to help others.  

Peter Snell and his wife Anne.  Oil on wood 24"x 24"

So today, we start the ball rolling.

Other News

The paintings are being delivered to Manchester to Rev Rachel Mann by the weekend.  They are coming from Dublin and are being couriered over by the kindness of an Irish business man who has put himself out to help.  I am going up this weekend to check them and to see if they have survived the journey. 

In the Spring, I am hoping to paint the portrait of an inspirational young man in his 40s, who is dying of MND.  He is a fabulous artist, a family man, and an all round normal human being.  He has agreed to a portrait, so Neill and I will go and meet him in April, and I look forward it.  I haven't met him, but from what little I know of him, he is witty and articulate.  Wonder if I will paint a wheel chair?  I have never painted a wheel chair before.  Got to understand how it works before I can paint it.  Another little job to do.  Once the meeting is finalised and I have his permission to publicise the painting, I will name him and introduce him to you.  He doesn't really need introducing - he is far more active than I am, he publicises MND and it's 
campaign for a cure.

 Back to the A Graceful Death in Manchester.  A painting of my darling partner as he waited in the hospice to die.  This is powerful and beautiful and terrible all at once.  This is the image that began the whole A Graceful Death exhibition.  It went to be part of an exhibition in Glasgow Cathedral a few weeks after Steve died, and the man who was curating in the Cathedral said of it,  "Ah.  A graceful death." which was how the exhibition I am now producing got it's title.  A big thank you to that inspired curator.

A Graceful Dying.  Waiting in the hospice, a few days to go.  Oil on wood, about 12" x 9"

Opening Night is on Saturday 19 February, at the church, from 6pm to 9pm.  See you all there.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to the exhibition - and recording the filming for posterity. x