Before I die is a participatory public art project which was installed in St Helens Town Square for one month, inviting people to pick up a piece of chalk, contemplate death, reflect on life, and share their personal aspirations.
After losing someone she loved, artist Candy Chang channelled her grief and depression into this project covering a crumbling house in her neighbourhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stencilled with the prompt, “Before I die I want to _____.” Within 24 hours the wall was full and continue to grow.
The project has now seen more than 5000 Before I Die walls created in over 70 countries, including Iraq, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and South Africa. Revealing the community’s longings, anxieties, joys, and struggles, it explores how public space can cultivate self-examination and empathy among neighbours and compassionately prepare us for death and grief.
Presented in partnership with SICK! Festival & St Helens Council