Patients being treated at the Rennie Grove Peace Inpatient Unit in Watford have collectively created a piece of art, as part of a project called ‘Community Spirit’, that will be displayed at an exhibition at Gallery 101 in London next month.

The Art of Grieving was founded by Kate Ray in 2017, when she was a trustee of Bereavement Matters in St Albans.

Exhibitions happen every two years when artists are invited to submit work of any type - paintings, sculptures, photos, short films, textiles, songs and poetry about loss, bereavement or death. The exhibitions help break the taboo around these topics.

This is the first time patient artwork has been displayed at the exhibition and it’s the first time a jigsaw has been included.

The inspiration for the patient-led project came from Ian Murray, a patient at the Rennie Grove Peace Inpatient Unit, whose amiable character engaged and brought solace to others who were part of the community within the unit.

Ian began completing a jigsaw one weekend and invited other patients and relatives to join him. This not only provided a distraction but connected people in a shared endeavour in the unit’s communal space.

When all the jigsaw’s pieces had been used, the jigsaw was incomplete – with one central piece missing.

The determination to not let this defeat him, inspired Ian to create the missing piece himself, supported by the charity’s Creative Therapies Practitioner.

Ian recreated the missing piece with the art materials available at the hospice and carefully completed the jigsaw.

It was Ian's wish that the piece be framed and displayed in the unit for all to see and to mark this moment in time. He named the piece ..-. ..- -.-. -.- / -.-. .- -. -.-. . .-. which is a Morse code representation of a phrase that summarised Ian’s feelings towards cancer.

Sadly, Ian died before he could see the piece framed and displayed. His family has given permission for the piece to be part of the exhibition to symbolise the feeling of ‘a missing piece’ that many experience following a bereavement. And to bring hope that the gap left by loss can be filled.

Ian’s wife, Rhoda, says: "What started out as my husband (Ian) and I spending precious time doing something as mundane as a puzzle together, ended up a beacon of hope.

"The project built camaraderie and brought solace to all of us that worked on it. Ian had a gift for bringing people together - which he did daily during his time in the Inpatient Unit - and a passion for solving puzzles and problems.

"This project was a perfect example of that. He would not be beaten, even by the missing piece.

"It was in coming together and completing this as one and not being beaten that he felt a sense of empowerment, and that cancer hadn’t won, and he could still be him."

The Art of Grieving exhibition 2024 will take place at Gallery 101 on Queen Victoria Street in London from June 10 to July 9, 2024. Entry is free.

Kate Ray, founder of The Art of Grieving, says: "We are always amazed by the amazing creativity of the artists who exhibit in these exhibitions.

"Their generosity in sharing such important work and their willingness to come together with other artists in this unique space focusing on grief, loss and death is invaluable."

Lisa Jackson, assistant director for supportive care at Rennie Grove Peace, says: "We find that art and creativity can be very therapeutic for patients who are living with a life-limiting illness, offering them a distraction and an outlet for their feelings and experiences.

"It is wonderful to see this piece of art going on display to tell a story of creativity, camaraderie and above all, hope.

"The missing piece of the jigsaw is very symbolic of what bereaved people often tell us they feel like, following a loss.

Herts Advertiser: The Art of GrievingThe Art of Grieving (Image: Rennie Grove Peace)

"Our bereavement, listening and talking therapies service is here to support those around people we have cared for and our compassionate cafes and drop-in bereavement support groups are here for anybody who is struggling following a bereavement."

To find out more about bereavement, listening and talking therapies services offered by Rennie Grove Peace, visit

For more information on the Art of Grieving exhibition visit