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.

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5 hours ago

A touching video. ... See MoreSee Less

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2 days ago

Thanks, I'm an OT working in RAC in Australia. I have a few residents with Dementia & always looking for information & meaningful interventions. ... See MoreSee Less

5 days ago

Lots of helpful tips in your role as a Carer. ... See MoreSee Less

10 months ago

Professionally framed, the seed was planted with this project in 2015. Although I painted the background, my Dad who was living with Dementia, painted the rest. I am so proud of this painting which now hangs on my office wall. The time we spent together while Dad painted was so precious. He was not an artist in the past but this activity gave him focus and purpose and he was so proud of his finished work. ... See MoreSee Less

Professionally framed, the seed was planted with this project in 2015. Although I painted the background, my Dad who was living with Dementia, painted the rest. I am so proud of this painting which now hangs on my office wall. The time we spent together while Dad painted was so precious. He was not an artist in the past but this activity gave him focus and purpose and he was so proud of his finished work.Image attachment

Comment on Facebook

So beautiful ❤️🌻✨

So wonderful that you framed and hanging it Cynthia

So wonderful

A gorgeous, sentimental keepsake ♥️

Beautiful, it’s good that you shared that time with your dad X

Very very special to have his presence close to you in your office

Beautiful.

So lovely to have precious memories. I have many framed embroideries my mother worked all around my house. I watched her working on some of them - firmly fixed memories in my mind.

Precious memory, hartverwarmend ❤️❤️

Wonderful. and beautiful.

Miss dear Pa ❤️

Was like yesterday that he was here🌿🌷

Just beautiful 🌷

Hi Cynthia I just saw this post today 4th Jan 2020. I had no idea that you have lived so close with Dementia with your Dad. Healing thoughts coming your way. ❤

So beautiful Cynthia. The work you have done is truly amazing. 💜

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10 months ago

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Comment on Facebook

That is amazing

Wow

1 month ago

Great perspective of a leaf.I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, "No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don’t worry at all. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, 'I will see you again very soon'."

That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from the leaf.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

[Image: William Smith]
... See MoreSee Less

Great perspective of a leaf.

2 months ago

Love this carved and painted leaf decoration for Christmas. ... See MoreSee Less

Love this carved and painted leaf decoration for Christmas.

Comment on Facebook

Gorgeous

Did you make that Cynthia Hoogstraten? Gorgeous!

Beautiful

2 months ago

Promising research. Not a cure but It would allow people to be more aware. ... See MoreSee Less

Promising research. Not a cure but It would allow people to be more aware.

2 months ago

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

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