As many of you would have seen from my posts, Grandad passed away on Saturday 29th July at 3pm, surrounded by his children, my Mum cuddling him as he exited stage left.
Many of you have sent heartfelt messages of condolence, all saying how much you enjoyed his work, our projects and his presence on social media. I haven’t responded to many of them, I don’t know what to say.
Since Grandad started working on his art career, wherever I’ve gone people have asked me how he is doing and what he is up. As two forms of cancer spread through his body our work came to a halt. Grandad was a fighter but he wasn’t able to do much more than watch telly and tell jokes in his final months.
I’m really grateful for the 30 years I had with him but even more grateful I was able to make work with him, document his thoughts and politic and share those with you. Action Hero once told me how “sometimes your work knows before you do”
In his passing our work together becomes less about the activism and visibility of elders but one of coping with grief for those of us left behind.
I’m writing this because I want to share my gratitude with you - this work was funded by people like you. The only way we were able to make work with each other, to keep Grandad in lemonade and pens and to put on a gallery show was because of the generosity of the people who supported his crowdfunding campaign.
Since his passing I’ve been looking back at the work we made fondly how far it reached, who engaged with it and I want to remind you of it,
At the start of the project Grandad and I were interviewed for Channel 4 taster tape - they decided that making tapestry with Grayson was better suited to their art slot but props to Vicki & Broadbean for attempting to make it happen...
Soon after Grandad and I set about working towards his debut solo show. Instead of attempting to get his work shown in a proper gallery we felt it was only right that Grandad showed his work in the community he and I had both lived for a combined 80 years.
With some money in the bank we set about making Grandad’s Gallery a thing, taking over a disused tanning shop in Queen Crescent, North London. We needed to raise some more cash so Grandad made his first piece - a t-shirt that we could flog...
No Need to Shout was a t-shirt designed for elders to wear when navigating the health service so Doctors didn’t shout at them, assuming they were deaf or hard of hearing. An additional 50 were sold to raise the money needed to open his debut show...
Over one week almost 750 people showed up to see Grandads work. Grandad began to get a twitter following, Stephen Fry tweeted about the project, people bought his work and journalists began to write about him…
“At 79 years old, he's also one of 2015's most exciting new voices” - Vice
“The real Liam Gallagher stand up with a contemporary art show” - Independent
“Help Tackle Ageism” - Time Out
“The older he gets, the most invisible he becomes” - The Kentishtowner
Grandads work began to reach beyond the UK press, first hitting the Irish papers and then further afield…
“The political David Shrigley” - The Irish Examiner
“Who is the real Liam Gallery?” - The Irish World
Canada - http://blog.chartwell.com/supporting-your-aging-parent/grandads-gallery-contests-ageism/
America - https://seniorplanet.org/78-year-old-finds-art-world-fame-with-no-need-to-shout/
Brazil - https://catracalivre.com.br/geral/geracao-e/indicacao/irlandes-aprende-a-escrever-aos-79-anos-e-vira-artista/
Unable to attend his own private view because of ill health Grandad discharged himself from hospital, got in a wheelchair and spent the afternoon hanging out with Hunt & Darton who ran his gallery cafe. He later tweeted…
Grandad had a second show in Brighton, gained a following in Brazil and sold his work internationally. As his health started to decline we came to a stop - we hung out but instead of make work together I took him to the hospital - our project came to an end.
Grandad won’t be easily forgotten - his impact on my life, the life of my family and his followers will be with us for a long time. In many of the interviews we gave to press I said my only aim was that our project perhaps made everyone look at elders a bit differently, that it made us see them in public space, that it made us more mindful and respectful.
For now, it’s cheerio to my best mate, my collaborator and my guru but not before he give us a laugh...
In Grandad’s last weeks he was cared for with dignity and respect by the St. John’s Hospice - if you can give them a few quid here. My family are also keen to raise money for skin cancer research - again if you can give a few quid then we encourage you to donate here.
Check out Grandad's works and back catalogue - http://realliamgallagher.co.uk