Last night, I attended the official launch party of the Good Funeral Guild, in an evening gathering held amongst a month long exhibition titled Life. Death. Whatever. taking place at National Trust property Sutton House in Hackney throughout October.
Life. Death. Whatever. labels itself as a month long reflection on life, death and every thing inbetween, and plays host to a varying and insightful programme of informative talks and fun-filled workshops set inside an historic National Trust surrounding.
The exhibition itself is not only worth visit for the sneak peek you have inside an incredible venue, Sutton House in London’s Hackney area, but visitors are also welcome to admire and study a selection of emotionally provocative, sometimes challenging, yet arguably beautiful artist installations which invite and inspire you to think about the stages of life we sometimes turn a blind eye to, whilst confronting these matters with the absolute respect that’s demanded from them too.
The exhibition is simply incredible. From the perspective of an art lover and an industry member, I thoroughly enjoyed embracing every emotion that was offered to me so openly on my walk around the house. These artists share an understanding of something we all often struggle to give name to, yet are able to feel and experience in our own personal way too.
But what moves me most about this whole event is the concious effort which has been made to place the subject of death on the lips of the innocent passer-by. Death is a subject which needs to be discussed, and right now it too often isn’t. This needs to change, and events like these encourage that.
Death is as natural as life, and it is a life passage which we are all garanteed to encounter and experience. So, why wouldn’t we talk about it? Why wouldn’t we plan our own exit from the world with as much excitement and gusto as that of a milestone birthday party?
We can plan and plan and plan, but the truth is we might not ever hit 30, 40, 50, 60…..
…but we will all die in the end, right?
Life. Death. Whatever. allows it’s visitors the opportunity to talk about the subjects that often instil fear and intrigue into our minds in equal measure; grief, death, birth, saying hello, saying goodbye.
For me, I found that last night’s launch was a pleasant opportunity to talk aloud with other people in the ‘#deathbiz’ who truly understand the importance of doing just that. Talking aloud. I’m really looking forward to attending some of the talks and workshops to follow in the next few weeks not just as a celebrant, but also as a human with an interest in inspiring people to speak up about the subject that sometimes scares us.
Death is beautiful. Death is normal. Death is whatever you want it to be if you allow it, and Life. Death. Whatever in conjunction with the Good Funeral Guild reminds us that we all have the right to choose how we wish to go in the end. There are many examples around the exhibition of alternative and natural ways to leave this world – pink hearses, cardboard coffins, natural burials etc… these are options which are accesible to all of us in planning a funeral, but often we don’t know the options are there for us to choose. Well now we do.
And, if indeed it all gets a little bit too overwhelming – go grab yourself an absinthe-prosecco cocktail and chill out in the coffin ball-pool playroom. Just like I did….
More details of all the events can be found at: http://www.lifedeathwhatever.com/
Images in this article are a few of my own personal photos taken from around the exhibition.