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New Rankin exhibition that aims to open up a conversation around death goes live

Doreen and Stuart are the mother and brother of Stephen Lawrence, who was tragically murdered at 18  years-old in a racially-motivated attack in London in April 1993.  
Despite the police initially having five suspects in relation to the crime, it wasn’t until 2012 when their family finally saw Stephen get justice, when Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted of his murder. 
I know there are times where I do feel guilty. You get to the point where you don’t smile as much as  you would have done” – Doreen Lawrence

Rankin has teamed up with Royal London to encourage a conversation around death with a free digital exhibition, Lost for Words, launching today Monday 16th November.

The subject of death seems to be on our lips now more than ever, as we continue to live through a global pandemic. We are hearing numbers, stats and data on a daily basis but it’s the harsh reality of personal loss that weighs more heavily than any facts and figures ever can.

The exhibition aims to tackle the taboo surrounding death. It’s time to change the way we think about our own mortality and the mortality of our loved ones. Lost for Words looks to encourage a vital dialogue on bereavement, to honour those we have lost and help us enjoy the time we have with those we love.

Born in 1992 and raised in Milton Keynes, Malin Andersson worked as a makeup artist and air hostess  before appearing in the second season of reality television show Love Island. Since first winning over fans in  2016, she’s used her 698,000-strong Instagram following to speak out about issues such as mental health  and body image, also becoming an ambassador for domestic abuse charity Refuge and Sands, stillbirth and  neonatal death charity. 
In 2019, Malin gave birth to daughter Consy by emergency caesarean after doctors detected a  heart defect at 33 weeks. Consy survived just a month until, too small to operate on, she passed 
away. The child’s namesake, Malin’s mother Consy, passed away in 2017 after a battle with  cancer. When she was one year old, Malin lost her father, also to cancer. 
“It’s better to get support when you can than wait until it is too late.” 
HyperFocal: 0

Lost for Words is a moving new digital exhibition, shot by Rankin, made up of a series of photographs of people superimposed next to images of loved ones they have lost, bringing together the departed and those left behind. It also includes an interview series and short film discussing the importance of talking about death and planning for the inevitable. 

The exhibition puts people who have experienced the loss of a loved one at its heart and it is sharing the stories of a few familiar faces: Gloria Hunniford, Ashley Walters, Konnie Huq, Malin Andersson, Divina De Campo, John Stapleton and Jeff Brazier who have joined the campaign to speak about their experience dealing with grief. Rankin will also be in conversation with people who are willing to discuss their experiences of grief and bereavement, some having faced loss through the global pandemic. 

Those who took part discussed their feelings on loss, what they learnt and how to deal with the practical and financial side of bereavement.  They share what they might do differently in the future as well as what they wouldn’t change for the world.

Ashley Walters: born in Peckham, London, in 1982. Raised by his mother in the absence of his father,  he studied at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. Beginning his acting career at the age of 15 on BBC teen drama Grange Hill, he became a core member of influential rap group So Solid Crew in the early 2000s,  under the name Asher D. Since then, he has released several solo studio albums and reached international acclaim as the lead in hit TV series Top Boy (Channel 4/Netflix). 
Ashley was estranged from his father when, in 2004, he revealed that he was suffering from terminal lung cancer. With just weeks to live, the 45-year-old flew to meet Ashley in Canada, where he was shooting a film. During this time, Ashley recorded footage of his father and spoke to him about his own childhood, an experience that helped Ashley come to terms with their difficult relationship.  
“It was after he passed away after I went to the funeral. I remember a moment where I kind of went to call him, and then it hit me. I know this is going to sound stupid but I was surprised by how  much I missed him and how much I loved him.”

“What if ‘the conversation’ wasn’t so difficult? What if it was easier, reassuring, funny, joyful? What if it, conjured memories of a full and happy life, rather than existential panic? It’s time to change the narrative.”

Rankin
TV and radio presenter Gloria Hunniford OBE has presented a plethora of television shows over the course  of her career, including Loose Women, Sunday Sunday, The One Show Gloria Live and she’s also been a  regular presenter of BBC consumer advice programme Rip Off Britain/Holidays/Food since its first broadcast  in 2009, she was also the first woman with her own daily radio show on Radio2 
Gloria lost her daughter, television presenter Caron Keating, in 2004 when she was just 41 years old. Caron had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. After the death of her daughter, Gloria set up The Caron Keating Foundation, a fundraising charity which supports a number of cancer charities across the UK. In her interview, Gloria discusses coping with grief and loss, the importance of preparing for the inevitable and how death is marked in Ireland. She was awarded  an OBE by the Queen for her services and hard work for cancer charities 
“I think to lose a child sends you into the darkest black hole imaginable” 

People will be able to view the digital exhibition on the 16th November on lostforwords.royallondon.com and those wanting to view exclusive film cuts and imagery from the exhibition will be able to join a live event Q&A hosted by Andrea Fox with Rankin and special guests on 25th November (TBC). Subscribed guests can submit a question ahead of the event with more details found on lostforwords.royallondon.com

Born in Hammersmith in 1975 to parents who emigrated from Bangladesh in the ’80s, Konnie Huq has  become a household name in the UK thanks to presenting jobs on shows like Blue Peter and The Xtra  Factor. In recent years, she’s released a handful of children’s books and has collaborated with her husband,  Charlie Brooker, on his award-winning series, Black Mirror
Konnie lost her father in 2014, six years after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His death  triggered her mother’s early-onset dementia, which led to her own death just a few years later.  Here, she discusses the impact that the loss of her parents has had on her, from the significance of  receiving flowers as a sympathy gift, to understanding how best to approach the topic of death with  the recently bereaved. 
“Once you lose a parent, or both parents in my case, people will tip-toe around you and everyone  else starts to have a sense-of-humour bypass because they’re worried about you, but humour is a  really good coping mechanism and you don’t want to be mourning the whole time.”

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