2 March 2015
Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Zel: Mind to Hand art exhibition at Curve Gallery in Newcastle.
The exhibition celebrates the creative and colourful work of eighty-eight year old Zel Caddey, a truly remarkable woman who found her passion for art later in life.
After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, Zel embraced the opportunity to express herself through the creation of vibrant and insightful artworks. This has continued beyond her ability to communicate verbally.
Zel’s style is characterised by an emphasis on narrative, colour and instinct. Her artworks capture a world full of friends, familiar places, memories, and smiling faces.
Zel’s achievements are both inspiring and hopeful, with studies showing that art therapy can give back to Alzheimer’s patients some of what the disease has taken away.
By stimulating the senses, the experience of creating or enjoying a piece of art can awaken dormant memories and encourage conversation – whether that be verbally or through the use of colour and form.
I thank Curve Gallery, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, and Zel’s family and friends for supporting the exhibition, and the team at Hippocrates Aged Care facility in Mayfield who have enabled Zel to become their artist-in-residence.
As our population ages and the number of families affected by Alzheimer’s trebles to more than 900,000 over the next 35 years, the importance of investment into research and support of diversional therapies, such as art therapy, to treat Alzheimer’s cannot be understated.
Aged care and dementia are very real issues facing older Australians and they need a holistic approach with genuine planning and investment.