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Life stories told through art as Sunrise curates exhibition of residen

Tuesday 22 October 2013
Participating organisations:
Sunrise Senior Living

A special collection showcasing seniors’ artwork has been curated by Sunrise Senior Living to mark World Alzheimer’s Month.  The collection contained powerful images created by Sunrise residents a number of whom are living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The exhibition, supported by Alzheimer’s Society, featured 54 pieces of artwork created by Sunrise residents.  Following its launch at a Mayfair gallery, it was recreated in each of Sunrise’s 27 UK communities.

Launched on World Alzheimer’s Day, Saturday 21st September, these walk-in galleries gave Sunrise’s 2,500 residents, as well as the areas they serve, the opportunity to enjoy outstanding artwork.  

Art is a big feature of life at Sunrise, as it upholds their main principles; encouraging independence, enabling choice, preserving dignity, celebrating individuality, nurturing the spirit and involving family and friends.  Each Sunrise community has a special Reminiscence Neighbourhood, specially adapted for those living with Alzheimer’s, and art can play a crucial role for these residents, keeping the mind active and acting as a form of therapy.  As well as a tool to combat Alzheimer’s, art is a hugely popular activity amongst all Sunrise’s residents, with many developing their passion after coming to live at a community.  

From the forlorn soldier standing alone in his garden, to the stilettoed, smoking silhouette, every piece in the exhibition has a fascinating story behind it - about the power of art to inspire and engage people of all ages and abilities.

Guy Geller, Managing Director UK, said:

“This exhibition is a brilliant demonstration of what older people can achieve, given the right support.  Many of our residents arrive at Sunrise with an established interest in art, while some only discover their talents during classes held at our communities.  Whatever their capabilities, we encourage our residents to pursue their interests and make the independent choices which allow them to live full and happy lives.

“We wanted to remove the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s so we deliberately didn’t indicate whether the artists are living with the condition. There was such a high standard of art throughout the collection, there was no way of differentiating between art created by those living with the condition and those who are not. It was a really powerful way of combatting misconceptions about Alzheimer’s and, instead of defining people by their conditions, we celebrated outstanding art created by talented people."

Nick Vassallo, Head of New Business at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

“Art can be really beneficial for people living with Alzheimer’s, prompting memories which may otherwise be inaccessible. It can also help people express themselves and improve their sense of well being. We’re proud to be working with Sunrise on this excellent initiative.”

“A big thank you also to Chip and Leon for their phenomenal fundraising efforts. With one in three people over 65 developing dementia, Chip and Leon’s efforts are incredibly important, allowing us to carry out our vital work and support those living with the condition.”