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“Weirdly Wonderful” – what it meant to be part of ALIVE

13 September 2013 by Dickie

Photo of Phil next to Rankin in Walker Art Gallery in front of a large photograph of Phil.

Phil Kelly with Rankin at the ALIVE exhibition

Guest blog from Phil Kelly who was photographed by Rankin for the ALIVE: In The Face of Death exhibition. Phil has myeloma, a rare form of incurable cancer. It is a life-limiting condition but he is fighting back through music. Despite his condition he is back playing with his university band Trophy Cabinet and releasing new material:  

How do you describe in a few words the experience of being photographed by Rankin? Seeing your face in your much-loved home-town gallery, exposing your struggle to ‘live life’ very  publicly and taking your whole family to see an exhibition starkly confronting them (and you) with the fact that you aren’t going to be with them too much longer?
 
It’s more of a book than a blog…but, here are a few words… exciting, star struck, awestruck, engaging, challenging, panic-stricken, revealing, cathartic, resolving, loving, togetherness, inspiring, life-affirming, sharing, uplifting, frightening and exhilarating.
 
Rankin captured my inner me perfectly… battered, but still a bit defiant.  He started thousands of conversations that probably needed to be had… a few of which were had by us!  He used his art to share how my ‘art’ has saved me from giving up the fight.
 
Music has kept me going and I am lucky to have survived myeloma long enough to get my head around my situation and reap the benefits of living life with renewed clarity. By being part of ALIVE I realised something important: I finished ‘grieving’ for the old me a while ago and I am prepared for anything that happens.
 
But, thanks to the ALIVE exhibition, I think maybe everyone else has caught up with me in that feeling and we are all living life full-on, together. I hope by being involved we have helped some other people, whether they are ill or just wondering what life is all about.
 
Trophy Cabinet’s single Gliding is available to buy. Funds generated go to charities involved with the ALIVE exhibition including Claire House Children’s Hospice.  
 
About Myeloma: www.myeloma.org.uk 
 
ALIVE: In The Face of Death closes on Sunday 15 September at 5pm. Free entry.   
 

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