LEISURE: Rankin exhibition launches at Lighthouse, Poole – Alive: In the Face of Death


A new exhibition opens at Lighthouse, Poole today, exploring and challenging common perceptions of death.

The exhibition – a collaboration with Forest Holme Hospice Charity in Poole – is the brainchild of influential photographer Rankin, who wanted to celebrate life and diversity through work that explores the vitality and importance of living. 

A prominent feature of the exhibition is the ‘life mask’ portraits Rankin has created with the help of a number of celebrities. Some of the names to watch out for include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert De Niro, Joanna Lumley and Holly Willoughby.

After working with Rankin on the original exhibition in Liverpool’s Walker Gallery in 2013, Poole-based palliative care doctor, Dr Simon Pennell has also features.

Through the images, Rankin explores the diverse ways death is experienced by those living in other cultures. There are photographs of professional mourners in Ghana and colourful masks that echo the Mexican Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations; the vibrant celebration of those who have passed. 

Rankin was inspired by the death of his own parents, who passed away within just three weeks of each other in 2005: “The whole process of them dying really confused me,” the photographer has saidI didn’t know why I was so ill-prepared for what happened. That was the spark that started the whole project off.” 

Lighthouse Chief Executive Eslpeth McBain, said: “Lighthouse is exceptionally pleased to be working with Forest Holme Hospice to show work by one of the world’s most renowned photographers. Rankin has tackled a challenging subject with compassion and his customary creativity to present a powerful and moving exhibition that will start conversations and give us all something to reflect on.” 

Having worked with some of the world’s biggest names, including David Bowie, Kate Moss and Heidi Klum for publications such as GQ and Vogue, Rankin’s reputation as an exceptionally talented artist means the exhibition is sure to attract attention of art fans everywhere, and generate discussions of the often controversial subject of death. 

Paul Tucker, Communications Manager at Forest Holme Hospice, adds”We are absolutely honoured that Rankin has given us permission to use these images which are so powerful and expressive. Death is still very much a taboo subject in our culture, so we hope this exhibition will challenge our perceptions of death and ignite dialogue about what really matters to people at end of life.” 

The exhibition will run from today – Tuesday 15 September – until Saturday 21 November 2020. For tickets or to find out more about the exhibition, call the box office on 01202 280000 or visit the website


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