We know that art has the power to change people and cut through some of the fears around mental health. We’re using a visual medium to engage with people. We know that an honest and open conversation can change a person. And it can motivate a group to work together to put pressure on our government and institutions. Art connects in an emotional and physical way that data and statistics can never do.
ARTzheimer’s is not just art for the sake of being art. The common thread between each piece of work is to inform, highlight and enlighten on the complex issues of Alzheimer’s disease. We have orchestrated the exhibitions with intention to provoke and inspire an audience.
The idea behind ARTzheimer’s evolved from a very special friendship between two people over a seven year period. Eimear Farrell, curator of the project, was working as a case worker for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland. One of the very first people she met through her work within the society was a gentleman and artist called Leo Casey. Despite only knowing Leo initially from a professional capacity, their friendship grew and strengthened over their mutual love and appreciation for art. Leo, a talented artist in his own right, began a journey through Alzheimer’s disease that would not only impact Eimear Farrell, but also open her eyes and heart to the person behind the disease. Eimear set about documenting his journey through Alzheimer’s right from the very early stages of his diagnosis until late 2014, when sadly Leo passed away.
Eimear captured the often unspoken traits of Alzheimer’s such as empathy and compassion which she noted became heightened in Leo as he progressed through the different stages. One surprising connection that remained intact however was Leo’s ability to connect to art and all that it had to offer to a mind struggling through Alzheimer’s.
"I found this fascinating and began to delve further into the connection between Art & Alzheimer’s. The results of this research were truly eye-opening."
Eimear decided it was time to put a necessary spotlight on Alzheimer’s disease but in a different way. In honour of her friendship with Leo and the personal loss of her grandmother, she decided the best way to do this was through the medium of art. And so began the journey of ARTzheimer’s. Click here for more about Leo Casey
When families are met with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, they're confused and scared. They have to navigate their way through a complex care system. They also have to deal with the huge stigma around this illness. We are a supportive voice for people living with Alzheimer's, their carers and the wider community. We act as a signpost to help families understand the full range of services available to them. We also want to shake up the current system and fix some of the broken elements. We're not afraid to be controversial.
Losing my grandmother to Alzheimer's disease was a life-changing experience for me. I have dedicated the last twelve years of my life to researching different care models that focus primarily on social engagement. In 2012, I developed a method of care for Alzheimer's caregivers called 'The Five Senses for Alzheimers' which won me a place on Startup Next Ireland; an leading accelerator program supported by Google for Entrepreneurs. Over the last few years, I've realised that real change starts from the ground and grows organically. I'm happy to see some of the seeds I'm planting with ARTzheimer's finally sprouting and I'm even more excited about whats coming down the line for the exhibition.
Read more about Eimear and her reason for setting up ARTzheimer's here
I help Eimear to tell written and visual stories about the ARTzheimer's community. I have a business background as a designer/maker as well as a social media consultant. I have a strong interest in making business human. I want to find ways to connect people together.
I have been drawn to work at ARTzheimer's for personal reasons too; my Mum Loretto was diagnosed with Alzheimer's this year and my Grandmother also died from this disease. I want to enable people to speak up and ask for the help that they deserve.
ARTzheimer's @ 2013