‘WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS’ (2005)

 ‘WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS’

 

PAINTED by 35 RESIDENTS and STAFF and FAMILY and FRIENDS of MARGARET BEYNON HOUSE - MAYFLOWER RETIREMENT COMMUNITY BRIGHTON

VICTORIA AUSTRALIA.

 

1.4m x 1.7m 

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The Worlds Within Worlds artwork is symbolic of the upside-down, topsey-turvey world that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Viewed from any perspective, the central circle represents the calm sea waters at Brighton, on the foreshore of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay. The Brighton pier and the bathing boxes and the familiar landmarks of Luna Park, Flinders Street station and the distant outlines of the City of Melbourne were included in response to requests of the participants in the program.

 

The Margaret Beynon House dementia specific unit project was one that I looked forward to with great anticipation. It came at the end of the six-month Mayflower Retirement Community artwork program. I decided to create a separate artwork for this group because individuals living with dementia are too often overlooked in program decision making. My experience in the past had encouraged me to believe that the Margaret Beynon House participants would be lively, interested and enthusiastic. I was not disappointed.

 

 

WHAT THE PARTICIPANTS SAID 

 

“Painting is very soothing it has helped me to remember things from long age. I loved colouring in as a child. Painting is very relaxing and better than sitting doing nothing”. Joan K

 

“It makes me feel like a beautiful bird. How beautiful”. Jolan

 

“Dementia is like leaving your life behind, you can’t remember where your mind is. The art skill hasn’t come to me yet, but the feeling of waving the brush across is relaxing. I‘II come again [to paint] to learn some more skills”. Pam

 

“It will be really nice to fill the walls with something. The walls usually look so plain. I just love the colour blue”. Mary C

 

“Painting is not boring, the brush just soaks up the paint and fills the time nicely. The artwork will be ours until the end of our lives and something to be proud of”. Norma S

 

“[Painting] is very relaxing, it reminds me of painting ceramics at school in Ceylon. It takes me back to that happy time. It looks GLORIOUS!!”. Heather

 

“I have never painted before, and I don’t want to go out of the lines. If I tell Diane [daughter] I have done this, she will never believe me. She will probably say ‘don‘t you muck this up mother’. If I talk too much about this [my part in the painting] everyone will think I’m a skite”. Norma M

 

“Forgetfulness creeps up on you and leaves you with nothing. There are so many emotions connected with the clock and watching the hands tick by. Painting is like erasing memories you just paint over them and leave them behind. Painting fills the gap that time has left. I would like a garage in the bush to just sit and paint and listen to the birds”. Dermot

 

“I have never tried this before. I feel calmed and soothed”. Jean

 

“I love painting and sitting here with you. I wish I could have been up to it a bit more, but I am just not like I used to be. It looks like the beginning of a masterpiece”. Jack

 

“The whole work looks very nice up close and from a distance”. Joyce

 

“How lovely everything looks. The colours all look lovely together. Did everyone do this. I recognize the water and the city and the sun and the bathing boxes. What lovely colours and what a lovely thing to do”. Florence

 

“It looks very fine, and at least it gives me something to do”. Bill

 

“I really enjoyed the experience even though I can’t see very well”. Ilma

 

“Dementia is something else! I just want to be someone else. Losing your memory is a dreadful thing. You can fight it, but I just go with the flow. Luna Park is a giggle and a laugh, and painting Luna Park with you Julie Diane is just a lot of fun, it helps fill in a boring old day”. Geoff

 

“I have really enjoyed sitting with you doing this”. Elsie

 

“I saw you doing something with the others and I really didn’t think I would be able to do it but, it is really quite easy. I liked it”. Pat


Dr. Julie Gross McAdam gratefully acknowledges the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and their generous grant to Mayflower Retirement Community.