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Voluntary Action Maidstone organise A Graceful Death art exhibition set to take place at Maidstone Community Centre in Marsham Street

An art exhibition designed to raise awareness about death will take place in the county town this month.

Artist Antonia Rolls has created a series of paintings featuring dying people after being inspired by her husband’s death from cancer in 2007.

It has been organised by Voluntary Action Maidstone and will run for three days at Maidstone Community Support Centre in Marsham Street. 

There will be 54 portraits and paintings on display. Picture Antonia Rolls

There will be 54 portraits and paintings on display. Picture: Antonia Rolls

Ms Rolls said: “In order to try and understand how this could happen, in order to try and hold onto him and his journey away from me and from life, I painted him.

“I painted his last few weeks, days and the day of his death. It seemed to me that what was happening to him was so out of the ordinary and so devastating, that it needed to be documented.”

The exhibition, called A Graceful Death, has been set up by Voluntary Action Maidstone’s Macmillan Volunteer Service and will coincide with Dying Matters Week.

There will be 54 portraits and paintings on display. Picture Antonia Rolls

There will be 54 portraits and paintings on display. Picture: Antonia Rolls

This service specialises in supporting people living with cancer by providing emotional and practical support.

It will feature 54 portraits and paintings as well as poetry and essays written by members of the public.

An open evening will take place on Wednesday, May 20 between 7.30pm and 10pm.

There will be 54 portraits and paintings on display. Picture Antonia Rolls

There will be 54 portraits and paintings on display. Picture: Antonia Rolls

The exhibition will then run from 10am to 6pm on Thursday and Friday.

A series of workshops will also take place over the two days.

Between 10.30am and 12.30pm a talk on whether we need to plan for our last days and whether our mortality provide a reason to live well will take place.

A further two will happen on Friday. 

From 10am to midday participants will be invited to create life boards that depict how they feel and from 2.30pm to 4.30pm a proposal to open a cafe that will support people with dying family members will be discussed.

To attend one of the workshops email: christopher.tucker@vam-online.org or call 01622 677337.

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