Sunday, 27 April 2014

Art, End of Life Conversations, and Rain.

It is good that it is still raining outside, it makes me concentrate.  When I have paintings to do that require silence and peace, I listen to YouTube tapes of 10 hours of falling rain, on my headphones.  I can work in the sunshine, yes, but that is a whole different set of feelings.  Nice ones, of course, but today it is raining and today I am at one with the rain.  In a healthy kind of way.  And inside, on the sofa, with a pot of tea.

A Graceful Death News

I will be joining the "Dead Good Day Out" event in Southampton on the 10 May.  It is a wonderful community affair, full of workshops, talks, discussions and fun things to do.  AGD will be there, and I will talk for a few minutes on what I do during the day.  Come and see us all, it will be a really dead good day out.

Preparing for the A Graceful Death at St Peter's Church, Preston Park, Brighton is taking up much time.  I have the help of a supportive and hard working team, and I could not do it without them.  For this exhibition, we are hosting facilitated discussions from 2pm to 4pm on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the exhibition.  The topics covered will be Planning for Dying, Supporting the Dying, and Communicating with the Dying.  It is so important for us to engage with each other, to be aware of how much information, support and interest there is for end of life issues.  The Dying Matters message for this Dying Matters Awareness Week is you only die once.  Not only do we have to be prepared for our own deaths, but we must be prepared for other people to die.  Our family, our friends, even strangers.  We can make a difference to other people at the end of life not by coming in and changing everything.  Most dying people have medical care, have family, have friends around them.  We can do much by simply acknowledging what is happening, by listening, by being honest and by not running away.  It is surprising how many of us need to learn to do this and to not run away.  It is with huge pleasure that we, the AGD Brighton Team, can offer informative, interesting and helpful facilitated discussions within the exhibition.  Please go to this link to see the full programme

Thanks to Graphic Artist Extraordinaire Rhona Reedie for this poster below.  

Have you a South Korean documentary tv company coming to film AGD in Brighton?

Why yes!  How did you know?  I am talking to a South Korean documentary television company about filming the exhibition during Dying Matters Awareness Week.  I think this is excellent, and am looking forward to meeting them.  The name of the programme is Docuprime, and it is for the Educational Broadcasting System in South Korea.  


I have written a guest blog for the Dying Matters Coalition, and hope that it will be available soon on their website.  I will let you all know when it comes up by linking to it from this blog and having a party on my sofa.  Dying Matters is a hugely successful and informative, no nonsense website with all the information and advice you could possibly want for end of life matters.  It is part of the National Council of Palliative Care, and is an excellent place to find out all things and every thing about death and dying.  You can see their website here

Progress for our new project "Conversations about end of life, finding time to think in our busy world"

This community based informal and friendly discussion project, begun by Gail Martin Stevens (who runs a family run funeral service in Lancashire) and me, is finding real interest.  I went up to Mossley in Lancashire to do our first one with Gail, and was impressed at how people needed, and wanted, to talk about end of life.  We are hosting a session in June here in Bognor.  The 7 May session has had to be postponed, and because A Graceful Death is taking over May entirely, we are planning a gentle June Conversations. 

Community Organisers, a local charity that helps local communities support and engage with each other, is helping with our Conversations project.  Fourfold Visions, a community arts organisation is also on board, and I am finding that other organisations have had the same idea as Gail and me, and are very interested in promoting the Conversations project.  Good, I say.  And thanks.  In June, then, Gail and I will host a Conversations here in Bognor.  We aim to take these Conversations to wherever they can be taken.  It is an uncomplicated, affirmative and vitally important discussion that we all need to be able to have.  More on this as I organise it.

Gail's family run funeral company is featured here in an earlier blog, have a read, she is wonderful!

What else, Antonia?

What else indeed!  I am really looking forward to speaking at the Friends of Sussex Hospices Ladies Luncheon Club on Wednesday.  The Ladies Luncheon Club is full of ladies who work very hard indeed to support and fund raise for local hospices.  I am very happy to be asked to talk, and very happy to meet them.  I thank the Chair for Friends of Sussex Hospices, Kathy Gore, for this opportunity.  Kathy has tirelessly supported the A Graceful Death exhibition, from the very first exhibition in my house here in Bognor in 2009.  Thank you Kathy.

Is there any more?

That is quite a lot, matey.  I am talking to Alan about going away to a remote Scottish Island in June, we both like the idea of being far away for a couple of days.  I do have a portrait to paint this month, a double portrait of a couple, and I have a Kitchen Fairy to do too.  This, painting, is where I plug in my earphones and listen to hours and hours of rain falling and cars swishing by in the far, far distance, on You Tube.  So back we come, full circle.  I began the blog with the sound of falling rain, and I will end it with falling rain.  It is all very romantic (from inside).  I will end it now with you plugged into the sounds below for the next ten hours, and please don't thank me, it is my pleasure.  Until next week, fare well.

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