A Graceful Death opens at the end of this month in St James's Piccadilly. All is generally in order; the paintings are done, the short film is done, the book is being done and the organisation is ongoing.
Organisation includes, for me at least, all the housekeeping arrangements from my domestic life. As I am in London for the whole of the exhibition, plans have to be put in place to enable my 15 year old son to go to and from school here in Bognor Regis, and for him to eat. Eating is what he does. He is very tall and very thin and very hungry. Plans need to be put in place for me to stay in London and to have easy access to the church, which is all done. My dear friend and AGD supporter, Clarissa de Wend Fenton is putting me up, plus any friends and family that need to stay. Clarissa is a saint and will go to Heaven.
There are some adjustments to the times and openings for the exhibition. As the paintings will be displayed in the gallery above the church, there will be times when the exhibition will have to close for an hour or so to allow a service to take place below. There may be unavoidable random closures during the exhibition, which is perfectly reasonable in that St James's is a working church with a huge congregation. I will list the ones that I know about so far, below
- The Gallery and exhibition will close between 1 and 2 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- Thursday 29 March the exhibition will close for one hour in the morning to allow a memorial service to take place. When I know which hour, I will post it here
- The poetry workshops have had to change completely. The only day that is possible for the church is Tuesday 3 April between 2 and 4pm. Penny, our wonderful AGD poet will try her best to do this. More later.
- The Church, and the exhibition, will be closed on Monday 9 March, as it is a Bank Holiday.
- The exhibition will be open on Easter Day, usual hours of 12.30 - 5pm
I have finished the painting of Sarah Crawcour. This is a lady I am very keen to have join the A Graceful Death exhibition; she has not only lost her partner in 2008, but has had cancer once, then twice, and now is in remission. Sarah is in her late 40s, and is realistic and strong in her outlook on life. I find her refreshing and positive. I am not calling Sarah a Survivor, as she does not like that term, she feels it is not true. She is in remission, is healthy and the cancer has gone, again, and she feels that she is not surviving anything. Sarah hates the pinkification of breast cancer. She does not think it is a jolly feminine thing, and was distressed and furious to have had it. Sarah is a kind, straight talking lady, she is great fun and full of life, and she found the pinkness and the pressure to keep thinking positive overwhelming when she tried to talk about her cancer. Sarah was scared, frightened, sick, worried, full of panic and felt that this was not always acceptable. Of course, there are so many people who are sensitive and realistic about cancer and the way it makes those who have it feel, I think Sarah felt that those she spoke with tended to want her to join the pink ribbons, the pink teddies, the upbeat thinking, which she absolutely did not feel nor want. I liked what Sarah said. I liked her honesty. I also liked very much that when Sarah knew her partner was dying, she did not want to go to his bedside. Despite the fact that she wouldn't have made it in time to be with him as he died, she did not want to go and did not feel that either of them needed it. I like this so much. Not many of us are with those we care about when they die, so many of us don't make it. Yet we feel that we should, we ought, to be there to dance them out of life. Sarah is loving, and loyal, and was strong enough to say No, it was not what she wanted, and she wouldn't do it. Sarah's partner died, and Sarah holds his memory with love and care, it did not matter that she was not there.
Opening Evening is on Tuesday 27 March, 7 - 8.30. Please come and take part.
The opening hours for the exhibition are - Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5pm. Sundays including Easter Sunday, 12.30 to 5pm. I will be there every day except the afternoon of Thursday 5 April.
I will have much for you to do, see and take part in at the exhibition. I look forward to seeing you there.
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