From Birth till Death: Scrolled Life Stories

Enter a dramatic installation of giant papyrus scrolls and discover local life stories told in symbols.


What would your life story look like if you told it solely through symbols?

Each scroll hanging in this exhibition will be one individual’s story. Visitors can enjoy decoding the scrolls, helping to normalise untold stories from our communities.

The work will place the life stories within larger questions about who we are today, and inviting visitors to explore their own life stories.

This exhibition is the result of a social arts project, in partnership with artist R.M. Sánchez-Camus and local organisations including:

  • St Christopher’s Hospice,
  • Arts Network,
  • Three Cs, and
  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust’s Health Inclusion Team

The artwork is painted on papyrus and sewn into the scrolls, completed with the lead artist and created in workshops with each of the local organisations.

Want to create your own scrolled life story? Share them with us using #scrolledlife.

Listen to the audio description for this exhibition

Online exhibition tours

Artist R.M. Sánchez-Camus has created two online exhibition tours, as well as an audio narrative piece:



Make Your Own Scrolled Life Story

We invite you to spend time reflecting on your own life story, and considering your unique place in the tapestry of our community.

This is your very own scroll to draw and design through with any symbols you choose. If you are happy to share a photo of your scroll on social media please tag the Horniman and #scrolledlife.

Download the scroll guide (PDF)

Step by Step Guide

  1. Take a moment to remember key things in your past and imagine your future. Choose six for your scroll.
  2. Design a symbol for each life moment. Symbols are simple ways to say something without drawing a whole scene. Invent new ones and combine ones you know.
  3. Here are some prompts:
    • What is your earliest memory?
    • What was difficult but helped you grow?
    • What is important to you now?
    • What does the future hold?
    • Don’t forget to ask yourself: What would be the ideal ending to the unique story of your life?
  4. Just have fun! Be inspired by the work in the exhibition. Borrow ideas from what
    you see.
Nominated for Exhibition of the Year – UK