‘Right, before I die’ is a project by the American artist, Andrew George, in conjunction with the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in California. In 2012, George contacted the Medical Director of Palliative Care with an unusual request: he wanted to record the fortitude and courage of patients receiving palliative care in words and images. Over a period of two years, he talked to patients about their lives – their joys, fears and pleasures – and collected moving letters and testimonials. George then photographed these men and women. The results of this poignant project are on display in the Diksmuide attic of the medieval St John’s Hospital hospital, where it honors its core values, i.e. to support and console ill people.
But it does far more. Andrew George: “the project cannot help but impact each of us, as demonstrated by the worldwide public reaction to the on-line posting of these images. Most of the faces looking at you are no longer around. Letters, portraits and interviews are the only tangible reminders of these lives. These candid testimonials cannot help but cause visitors to reflect on their own lives – limited by time and fate – and to leave the exhibit not discouraged, but perhaps joyful and with deepened self-reflection on the meaning of our own life journeys.” Philosopher Alain de Botton adds: “ ’Right, before I die’ is on the side of life, it gives us new determination to appreciate what is being neglected and rearrange our values.”
Sint-Janshospitaal - Right, before I die’ - Andrew George - 27.01.2015-28.06.2015
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