‘Shelf Life: The Ornaments are Talking to Me’ Another Dimension

The current exhibition ‘Shelf Life: The Ornaments are Talking to Me’ has particular relevance to those suffering from Dementia as the work of the artist, Mark Clarke, which takes the form of five monumental, crowded shelves, was inspired by his mother, who died of Alzheimer’s, and is a poetic reinterpretation of her homemade shrines. As part of the gallery talks, I’ve attended along with Exhibitions Manager, George Harris to explain some of the significance of the themes in the context of Dementia.

Dinnertime

Pets are a source of comfort but also provide a possible sense of order to a day for someone living with Dementia: their beloved pet needs to be fed/walked therefore providing a structure to their day.

On a personal level, this “shelf” struck an immediate chord as I have seen many similar “shrines” to pets past and present when visiting people at home.

 

Dinnertime
Dinnertime

 

Once Upon A Time

Stories can evoke happy times, sad times, interesting times.  So often one hears people living with Dementia talk about times past.  If you think of a bookshelf full of books, all of which represent a memory/set of memories and as the Dementia, sadly, progresses, the books start to fall off the shelves, it is usually the top ones that “fall out” first, leaving the longest memories about which to reminisce.

 

Once Upon A Time
Once Upon A Time

 

Showtime

It is important to remember not to see the shell of the person sitting in a care home, possibly unable to communicate very easily, unable to take part in the activities they were once so passionate about but to remember that person has had a life, an interesting life which deserves recognition and respect.  Talk to that person about that interesting life, acknowledging, of course, that this can be a very difficult time.

 

Showtime
Showtime

 

Time To Kill

As Dementia takes more of a grip and you see that person’s life becoming more and more disordered and they have to go into 24 hour care, you hear people ask if it is worth going to visit people as they won’t remember.  Of course it is worth visiting as although the person living with Dementia may not remember the visit, they will remember the feeling of something pleasant having taken place, however short-lived that may be.

 

Detail from Time To Kill
Detail from Time To Kill

 

You can see ‘Shelf Life: The Ornaments are Talking to Me’ until Sunday 12th February

By Nicky Tulloch, Dementia Adviser Durham Dales

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s