(First published 25th June)
Last week it was my privilege to open the ‘Art Dementia New Forest’ exhibition at Forest Arts. Art Dementia run three groups for people suffering from dementia. They meet fortnightly for a couple of hours in Ringwood, Milford on Sea and Lymington.
It was fascinating to meet the artists and discover how therapeutic they find the sessions. The quality of their work was technically impressive, and also beautiful.
Since our ancestors first began to sketch hunting scenes on the cave wall, people have wondered about their purpose in doing so. Was it just pure creativity and self-expression, or was there some other reason?
Throughout the history of art, artists have had differing motivations, from worship, to enlightenment, the desire to inspire, to educate, to make political statements, to shock, even to disgust. Some artists will have had no motive whatsoever, just to let the work of art speak for itself.
Picasso described his paintings as a form of diary: a way of washing the ‘dust of daily life’ from his soul, as he put it. For certain, artists can dip their brush into their own soul, and express what other forms of communication cannot.
If your immortal soul is being crushed by disease, or even just the pace and demands of daily life, art can be the reminder that you still do have one.
(The Ringwood Dementia Art Group meets at the Trinity Centre. Details can be had from Gilda 01425 473777 firstname.lastname@example.org )