The A Graceful Death exhibition is a powerful, loving and life affirming exhibition of portraits of, and interviews with, people facing the end of their life.
The exhibition evolved from paintings of my partner as he was dying of liver cancer in 2007.
It was a terrible time, and the only way I could try to make sense of what was happening to us was to paint him during the process. I painted his last few weeks, days and the day of his death.
From these paintings, in 2009, came the first showing of the A Graceful Death exhibition, you can view images from the exhibition in the gallery.
It began with my story, and it has now become universal.
Over six years I worked with, painting and interviewing, people facing both a terminal diagnosis and their own deaths. Their images and words have joined the exhibition in order to help us see that dying is normal, and this is how they are doing it.
I ask my sitters two things. “Who are you?” and “What do you want to say?” All of the people in the exhibition want to tell us that though they are dying, they are still alive. It is while addressing dying in the exhibition, that we celebrate the life. The A Graceful Death exhibition is a total experience. There are more than 50 paintings in the exhibition alongside music, words, poetry, film and stories. It is moving, profound, raw and beautiful and there are often tears, as the paintings and words echo the experiences of those who come to see it. But there is joy and relief too, and a welcome chance to talk about such difficult subjects – loss, grief, death and life and love.
Alongside the paintings in the A Graceful Death exhibition is music, especially composed by Lizzie Hornby which you can listen to here.
There is a beautifully illustrated A Graceful Death book which you can buy online here, designed by Eileen Rafferty
There is a film on what A Graceful Death is about by Neill Blume which you can watch here.
There are also poems, essays and thoughts written by and sent in by members of the public.
The exhibition has featured in an award winning South Korean documentary which you can view the AGD segment.
The A Graceful Death exhibition tours extensively in the UK. It is available to show at conferences, as a stand-alone exhibition or as part of an event.
Within each exhibition are opportunities for workshops, talks and related discussions either hosted by me, or third parties.
It has shown at churches, exhibition venues, medical and theological teaching schools and specialist end of life care organisations sometimes just for one day events and sometimes for up to two weeks.
To hire the exhibition, to talk over what it can do for you, email or call me. There are many ways in which it can adapt to your needs.
The message of A Graceful Death is about living and dying and loving, universal human themes. The hire of the exhibition includes setting up, taking down and curating plus any workshops and presentations given by me.
If you are interested in an end of life portrait and words for yourself or someone else, I work privately outside of the exhibition to create wonderful, lasting and meaningful works to mark the end of life journey.