Dementia is a Person – The Leaf Project

The Vault @ Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery

Exhibition from 1 May till 21 June 2020
Our Exhibition has been put on hold –
1 Barolin St, Bundaberg Central QLD 4670

Exhibition Statement:

What is the symbolism of leaves and people living with dementia?

In the process of change when the leaf turns into a different colour and character it may still hold onto the tree before finally drifting down to the ground to rest. The life cycle is a process of growth and rebirth.

The leaves remind us that people living with dementia leave behind a rich tapestry of colour and character that forms an indelible imprint on the family and friends to serve as a foundation for new growth and fuel for renewal. Even at this stage of the life cycle we recognise the beauty in fallen leaves as much as the beauty and story of everyone throughout their stages of dementia.

Cynthia Hoogstraten – Josephina Beckers – Kay Shelton

Artist Statement:

Cynthia Hoogstraten

Cynthia is a local artist, Dementia Friend and Dementia Advocate. Her personal journey caring for her Father and studying Dip. of Dementia Care led her to creating awareness of personhood in Dementia through the painting of symbolic leaves.

Josephina Beckers

Josephina is a Brisbane based artist. After obtaining her graduate diploma of art psychotherapy in September 2017 she started working with people living with dementia in the aged care sector and assisting at the art and dementia program in the Queensland Art Gallery.

Kay Shelton

Kay is a local artist, very attuned to connecting with people of all ages, enjoying their story and invitational to them sharing their journey and expressing it creatively through art. Kay is also very connected to nature and thoroughly enjoys the symbolism of this project and connecting with the creators of the painted leaves, seeing their enjoyment at getting to choose colours, play, create and speak about their life.

An Impression . . .

An Interview . . .

The Media about ‘The Leaf Project’:

CONFIDENCE IN COLOUR

MEMORIES are precious and like a tree when it can no longer preserve its leaves, the colour may fade but the beauty will always remain.

This is one of the many powerful messages Cynthia Hoogstraten, Josephina Beckers and Kay Shelton hope to convey in their upcoming art exhibition, Dementia is a Person: The Leaf Project.

Displaying a selection of bright-coloured leaves with intricate patterns, each leaf has been handpainted by a participant that has Dementia or Alzheimers.

“I always let participants choose the colours, because a lot of them have had choices taken away from their life, so at least they could choose their colours and how they painted the leaves reveals a lot about who they are,” trained art therapist Ms Beckers said.

“When the brain doesn’t communicate with the hand and they do something creative like painting, that connection re-establishes itself and what I saw many times was that they become a whole person again.”

The artistic trio started working on the project when they each had their own experience with the devastating impact of the disease.

“My Dad had Dementia and when he wasn’t able to speak anymore, I began bringing a different activity, like painting or music, so I could still connect with him,” Ms Hoogstraten said.

“Leaves symbolise the circle of life and the dead leaves that fall off a tree might be disregarded, but if you stop to pick it up, look at it and embellish it, you will see that leaf still has a lot of beauty, quality and individualism,” Ms Hoogstraten said

Some participants selected colours to represent water and fire and the environmental challenges that Australia had been experiencing at the time.

Anyone who wishes to submit painted leaves to the project, is welcome.

The free exhibition will open on May 1, at 5.30pm, at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery on Barolin St.

Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery:

Bundaberg Regional Council has announced the closure of the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery to protect against COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We will keep you informed about a new date for the opening event.

The Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) is a large multi-purpose visual arts facility located in the heart of Bundaberg City, and is within walking distance to major shopping centres, cafes and restaurants and the Riverside Parklands.

The Gallery boast a year-round program of local, touring and national art exhibitions, visiting artists, workshops, artist talks, educational programs, kids activities, guided tours, gift shop facilities, artist-in-residence apartment, public outreach programs and much more.

Our opening has been put on hold . . .

For information about dementia, advice or support, phone the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

Dementia is a Person – The Leaf Project – Facebook Group

Follow us via our Facebook Group (click here) or via this webpage.

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

1 week ago

Looking forward to seeing this happen in Bundaberg. ... See MoreSee Less

Video image

Comment on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Another beautiful soul taken by dementia. Another leaf resting after a full life.Talitha Ann Herrick with Jeannie Little, 20 years ago after the RAQ fashion awards. She was so sweet, happy to have her photo taken and complimenting Talitha. A moment in the past that left an indelible mark. Her kindness and giving heart and the fact she could just be herself and make others smile. R. I. P. Jeannie. ... See MoreSee Less

Another beautiful soul taken by dementia. Another leaf resting after a full life.

Comment on Facebook

Who’s the beautiful young girl with Jeanie

Beautiful soul

1 month ago

I LOVE THIS. HOW BEAUTIFUL.

He is 85 and insists on taking his wife’s hand wherever they go.
When I asked him why his wife is distracted, as though she wasn't following anyone, he replied, “She has Alzheimer's”
I then asked, “Will your wife worry if you let her go?” He replied, “She doesn't remember... She doesn't know who I am anymore, she hasn't recognized me for years".
Surprised, I said, ′′and still you continue to guide her every day, even though she doesn't recognize you?".
The elderly man smiled and looked into my eyes, he said, ′′She doesn't know who I am, but I know who she is".

′′ SHE IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE ′′!" ♥️
... See MoreSee Less

I LOVE THIS. HOW BEAUTIFUL. 

He is 85 and insists on taking his wife’s hand wherever they go.
When I asked him why his wife is distracted, as though she wasnt following anyone, he replied, “She has Alzheimers”
I then asked, “Will your wife worry if you let her go?” He replied, “She doesnt remember... She doesnt know who I am anymore, she hasnt recognized me for years.
Surprised, I said, ′′and still you continue to guide her every day, even though she doesnt recognize you?.
The elderly man smiled and looked into my eyes, he said, ′′She doesnt know who I am, but I know who she is.

′′ SHE IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE ′′! ♥️

Comment on Facebook

Love this! ❤️

Yes I have heard that statement many times. Love is everlasting no matter what. ❤

Thank you Cynthia

How lovely 💖

beautiful. true love.

View more comments

1 month ago

Keep the conversation open. ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Here is another good news story about Cycling Without Age, which we are working on to bring to Bundaberg. Please leave a comment on how you feel Bundaberg will embrace this initiative, whether you personally wish to be involved or if you wish to donate, please contact me. I am currently working on a grant application and I will meet with the Sunshine Coast chapter soon. ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

Staying engaged. ... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Megan Gadischkie

4 months ago

Looking for community members interested in starting a chapter in Bundaberg. youtu.be/WCw87Sgrqic Please message me if this is something you wish to be involved in. ... See MoreSee Less

Looking for community members interested in starting a chapter in Bundaberg. https://youtu.be/WCw87Sgrqic Please message me if this is something you wish to be involved in.Image attachment

Comment on Facebook

Hi , is this something that is being organised in Bundaberg?

3 months ago

As Dave and I sat overlooking the beach at Bargara after I had drawn a Labyrinth ( a story in itself) this leaf gently floated down and sat beside me. I picked it up and studied it knowing full well it was symbolic. This leaf that could easily be discarded had an essence about it and I felt that strong connection with my Dad. Pa, I called him.

I could see its tattered edges and deteriorated surface; it is brokenness from the winds of time. How true these represented his last few years and mine.

Yet beyond the effects of life, it still had a strong spine and colour which gave it beauty and significance, so meaningful to me. That place beside me is a reminder of the bond we had and still have. It cannot be taken away, as it **Is** and always will **Be**. A metaphor for life.
... See MoreSee Less

As Dave and I sat overlooking the beach at Bargara after I had drawn a Labyrinth ( a story in itself) this leaf gently floated down and sat beside me. I picked it up and studied it knowing full well it was symbolic. This leaf that could easily be discarded had an essence about it and I felt that strong connection with my Dad. Pa, I called him.

I could see its tattered edges and deteriorated surface; it is brokenness from the winds of time. How true these represented his last few years and mine.

Yet beyond the effects of life, it still had a strong spine and colour which gave it beauty and significance, so meaningful to me. That place beside me is a reminder of the bond we had and still have. It cannot be taken away, as it **Is** and always will **Be**. A metaphor for life.

Comment on Facebook

❤️

Beautiful Cynthia. I miss you seeing you and your presence. 💜

Very happy. Just doing a bit of recovery and recalibration for the next part of my ever so interesting and yes at times challenging life. Sitting on the beach at the moment.feeling peaceful. 💜

Beautiful

2 months ago

We sometimes underestimate what they can and want to do. ... See MoreSee Less

Load more
Call Now Button