ARTzheimers brave and controversial exhibition

By Mary Dennehy

AN EXHIBITION, which has been described as one of the most important art initiatives of this age, is opening in Tallaght on March 20.

The brain child of Tallaght resident Eimear Farrell, ARTzheimers is an innovative and creative movement which hopes to change attitudes towards those living with Alzheimer’s through a brave and controversial art exhibition due to open in the Civic Theatre this March 20.

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Having grown up in Kilnamanagh and now living in Kingswood Heights, Eimear Farrell's first introduction to Alzheimer's was when her grandmother was diagnosed with the progressive brain disease - which sadly took her life more than 13 years ago.

After her grandmother passed away, Eimear began working with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and is now the director of ARTzheimers, an international social enterprise which, a fresh voice for Alzheimer related issues, uses the medium of art and human stories to connect people.

Eimear told The Echo that the project wants to get the discussion started on Alzheimer’s, while provoking “bold, brave and honest conversations” that will ultimately lead to change within the care system.

Called Light and Shade, the ARTzheimer’s exhibition, which collaborated with more than 200 Irish and international artists, aims to highlight the complex issues and consequences for those living with Alzheimer’s, and will be on permanent display in the Civic.

Speaking about ARTzheimer’s, Eimear, who sees huge power in combining the arts with a societal issue such as Alzheimer’s, said: “ARTzheimer’s mission is twofold, to give people permission to speak openly about this disease and to educate and remove stigma.

“We want to humanise dementia [and] our ultimate aim is to trigger positive change in the care system.”

Eimear also told The Echo how she hopes the thought-provoking and emotive exhibition will plant a seed for conversation, with that conversation growing beyond the walls of the Civic and out into the community.

Ahead of the opening of the exhibition, Michael Barker Caven, the Civic’s Artistic Director, branded the exhibition “one of the most important art initiatives of this age”.

For more on the project, which will be open to members of the public from March 21, visit www.artzheimers.com.

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