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Leaf project connects those living with dementia

Dementia is a person: The Leaf Project
Talitha Herrick and her grandmother Rita painting leaves for an exhibition.

An innovative new art project aims to involve those living with dementia through something that's accessible to everyone – the painting of a leaf.

Dementia Is A Person: The Leaf Project is a collaboration between Kay Shelton, Josephina Beckers and Cynthia Hoogstraten.

Cynthia said there have been some wonderful encounters as they prepare for the exhibition.

“The exhibition is to create awareness of the value of people living with dementia through an artful process,” Cynthia said.

Art can be transformative

“The time and effort taken to engage with the individual, to acknowledge them as an individual and to produce a work of art that they can feel that they achieved can be quite transformative.”

Cynthia said the idea of the leaf represents the cycle of life.

“The life of a leaf represents all seasons; spring: new buds, summer: full green leaf, autumn: browning and decline and winter: falling leaves.

“It is the latter stage which I wish to highlight as we consider the full leaf – we want to recognise and acknowledge that an individual is worthwhile and can still have a quality of life.”

The project has a Facebook page and people are encouraged to get involved.

Contribute a painted leaf, story and photo

“We invite people to contribute to the exhibition with a painted leaf, story and photo,” Cynthia said.

“If you know someone living with dementia it is a lovely way to connect with them.”

The exhibition will be held at The Vault at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery from 1 May, with artists Kay Shelton, Josephina Beckers and Cynthia Hoogstraten, who have worked with those with dementia to create the leaves.

“I am so enjoying these painting opportunities and getting to know some of our older residents at a whole new level and fun way,” artist Kay Shelton said.

To find out more contact Cynthia Hoogstraten on 0431 933 817, email cynthiahighstreet@hotmail.com or through the Facebook page.

Dementia is a Person: The Leaf Project
Some of the leaves created so far for the exhibition