Do you remember 2016, when it seemed like our heroes and icons were dying every day? Throughout that year the denizens of social media came together with collective expressions of grief and a state of mourning, with RIP as its defining term. What is it with death and celebrity?
Throughout this year of shock and tears I created a frieze of over 115 drawings that portray this tragic firmament of stars from David Bowie (08/01/47-10/01/16) to Debbie Reynolds (01/04/32-28/12/16). The frieze is the culmination of a year’s studio work, portraying musicians, writers, actors, politicians, scientists, astronauts, a murderer and a reluctant medical pioneer.
Each portrait has a #hashtag potted history explaining who they were, when they were born, where they were from, what they were famous for and the cause and date of death.
The exhibition addresses our perceptions and ideas of mortality, experienced through social media in collective mourning. Through social media we can experience this closeness via a hero, celebrities have become part of our lives, each death marking a moment in our own personal history, as we relate to and stories that recount our sense of love for an icon.
There are many intriguing connections between the different portraits for the audience to work out, science, space, politics, beauty and intrigue. People are encouraged to remember, swap stories and feelings about how they felt about the great and the good, as they recall those who departed this mortal coil in that extraordinary year.