close button

Age is a Privilege, unless you forget!

Debbie Castro
2020 - 2023
Age is a privilege, unless you forget! is an intimate collaboration with my father, Charles. Multi-layered, it explores the perspective of a person living with Dementia with an aim to open up a dialogue for the wider community. 

There are no answers and no guarantees with this illness, only that it gets progressively worse. The number of people with dementia by 2051 worldwide is thought will rise to 250 million and as such needs to be discussed as much as possible now. 

By illustrating the development of my father’s illness and giving his experience a physical form in my work, I invite others to gain an insight into the loss of memory. The personal becomes universal. Through processes of cutting, scraping and the use of stickers to intervene with my father’s photographs, I am seeking to depict both the decline of his cognitive health and the physical approach I have adopted to grieve my father while he is still alive. In this project, the recurring use of stickers is intended to represent the loss of my father's memory and the synapses in his brain, while the colour of each sticker underscores the extent to which he has forgotten a particular individual, setting or event. When viewing these sliced, scraped and crumpled images, viewers get the sense of my pain, as well as gaining an insight into the disorder and displacement of the memories of those with dementia. 

Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget! encourages viewers to find their own unique way of responding to the work, as well as experiences they may have of witnessing the decline in memory of people in their lives. This project then becomes a way of learning, coping and feeling one's way through losing the parts of a person they once knew and how that person formerly understood them. While photography is the core medium of this project, it has developed since 2020 to encompass other media and disciplines. For example, when this project was exhibited for the first time in the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, Dublin (RHA), an immersive projection existed alongside photographs; found objects, including my father's desk and chair; and a sculpture in the form of a 3D printed bust. . As part of the the project, I made a video with dad’s images and wrote a letter as a poem, a medium that has long been associated with the visual arts, particularly photography in the last century. 

It is through engagement with the work that viewers will learn more about the experience and my practice, as well as discovering more about themselves. Inside the lost and found memories of my father and mine, you are encouraged to form a mosaic of your own recollections, reveries and feelings.

No items found.