‘Scatter my immortal soul amongst your eternal memories and I shall see you when the light calls.’
One of the great things that has happened during the pandemic is the people I’ve connected with that I would not have met in 'normal' circumstances. Stanley and I exchanged some messages online, which eventually led to him writing one of our most popular blog pieces on the website. Being is a solo exhibition of new work by gallery artist, Stanley Greening which I had the pleasure of visiting back in May 2021 in Letchworth Garden City.
Stanley lost his son, Louis, last year in extremely tragic circumstances. His new emotionally charged work is an honest and powerful expression of his grief that explores spirituality and transformation as a view to immortality. Images suggest a spiritual transformation with a radiating energy. The ethereal emerges as a sign of hope and optimism beyond our physicality. They are like visions, a spiritual awakening. Stanley openly explores and dismantles the boundaries between life and death, embracing an age old contemplation.
The gallery was quite tucked away in a small shopping parade, amongst an unassuming café, bar, gift and sewing shop, which hid a treasure box of beautiful art. I was greeted warmly by Stanley but also by an overwhelming undercurrent of the powerful energy and captivating work displayed.
I was very moved and touched by the work and was surprised by how emotional I felt when I left; the arts allow us to express things that can remain unlocked or that we are fearful to share with others. It reminded me why creative practice is such an important part of our work and why we focus on it without apology at The Loss Project. It also reminded me why connecting with each other on these issues are so important. I am very curious about spirituality in its broadest sense as well as how grief and loss can coexist with hope and even joy, despite the pain that we experience in these times. Stanley’s work is raw, honest and deeply affecting but the spiritual energy in this work was something I had not experienced before.
This has also been shown by the feedback he has received, particularly:
Stanley told me that he felt writing the blog for The Loss Project was a catalyst to helping him return to the studio where he was able to visually express his grief and struggle with comprehending the loss of his son, Louis. I would encourage you if you are struggling with your own losses whether of a loved one or otherwise to find ways of being able to express how you’re feeling. You don’t need to be a Picasso and you certainly don’t have to share it with others unless you want to, but being able to create, make and connect with what is going on for you can be such powerful ways of us helping ourselves and others too. You might find our Grief Compass resource, made by people with lived experience earlier in the pandemic helpful as a starting point.
Thank you Stanley for sharing your beautiful writing and work with us, but also for sharing yourself. It is a brave and courageous thing indeed, and Being will remain with me for a long time.
Please check out Stanley’s campaign to help prevent other tragedies by knowing the DVT symptoms. He is doing incredible work in schools and I’d encourage you to support it and take a look: https://standupforlouis.org/
Want to write for us or share your work? Contact Carly on firstname.lastname@example.org