Wednesday 16 March 2011
The A Graceful Death Film Project -
making a film of the effect an exhibition of paintings of death and the end of life (A Graceful Death, paintings from the end of life) has on those who are involved in the works, and those who come to experience them at exhibitions. Showing how the exhibition is created and broadcast, and hearing what those who love it say, and those who don't love it, say.
Click on the link below to see more and to donate to this important work.
Filming in St Nicholas Church in Manchester, where the exhibition has just had its latest run.
Some reactions to the exhibition in Manchester
"I think what you are doing is a beautiful thing. And I think Jesus is very challenging, and not just comforting. Your writings and what I can see of your pictures speak to me in a powerful way: partly, because my own wife died just over two years ago - she took her own life, but had really tried to give herself a graceful death - which may also sound strange to some people; partly because I have seen many people die; but mostly because they somehow fill me hope when I am such a cynical and pessimistic old cuss these days. I think you have tremendous strength and compassion - so thank you for sharing that with the world." Stuart
"Goodbye Micheal, Goodbye Old Friend". My father leans over to say this to his old friend Michael who died later that evening. They had been friends for about 50 years. (Acrylic on board)
"A Graceful Dying" (saint in a chair in a hospice). Oil on wood. Waiting to die, with only days left.
The A Graceful Death exhibition is a collection of raw, powerful and loving paintings and poetry about the end of life. The poetry has been donated and sent in by those who have been affected by the exhibition, and tells of their own stories. It began with paintings of the last few days, weeks and day of my partner who died in 2007 from cancer. It has grown in the last two years to include the experiences and portraits of others both at the end of life, and those who have been left with no other option but to go on living - Surviving.
"Survivor" the colours of golden yellow and orange say it all. Nothing else is needed, this is me having come through the loss of someone special. I did it. I am alive still and life is good. Oil on wood.
The exhibition has had an extraordinary reception as it has toured the UK. It started in Bognor Regis, and went on to London, Oxford, Birmingham, Dublin and Manchester. It is next due to exhibit for the month of November in Birmingham.
The next huge project for A Graceful Death is the making of A Graceful Death, the Film. My colleague, the film maker Neill Blume, and I are making the A Graceful Death film about the way the exhibition is created and received. We want to film the hard work that goes into the creation of the exhibition, the progress it makes as it travels to each new venue. We aim to film the responses of those who come to see it, and of the reactions that people at the exhibition, beside the paintings. So far, the reactions of those who have come to the exhibition have been overwhelming. They have been truly cathartic for many, very painful for others, and deeply moving for all. There have also been those who do not like the exhibition at all, and we will be filming what they have to say too.
Our film will also show paintings in progress of those who are nearing the end of their lives. It will film how it is to make such a work, and the reactions and thoughts of all those involved. This will include how it affects me as I am working.
The aim of our film, the aim of the exhibition, is to start the long overdue conversation on how it is to die. We want to challenge, with grace, this taboo called Death. What is means to be at the end of life, and how we all will die. It seems that Art can address this issue in a way that is beyond mere words, and that the A Graceful Death exhibition and film, is just at the beginning of this discovery.
We Fund is a website that is dedicated to helping artistic and creative projects to find backing. Neill and I have set up a page on this website and would like to encourage you to follow the link below, and to help us by helping to sponsor our project. Every small donation helps (as well as every large one.) As you will see on the website, we offer heartfelt rewards for each sponsor. Please visit this page below and watch our short video which explains what we are doing
With many thanks,