It certainly has been a crazy year. It was challenging, and 100 times harder than second year. I enjoyed second year so much because there were more projects to be explored. I was quite relax entering the first term of my final year. The subject matter I chose was something that I care and passionate about – Alzheimer’s disease/dementia issue. I find myself interested in social and cultural issues that inspire me in giving response that balances content and creativity. At first I was not sure about choosing dementia/Alzheimer’s as my subject matter because I have a personal experience where my late father passed away because of it and it is a sensitive subject. But after few tutorials, I decided that because it has a personal connection therefore it will give more weight to the content.
I started the year through in-depth research i.e. going to dementia related seminar, consultations with a Neuroscientist from Bristol University and also by becoming a Dementia Friends, as well as experimenting with thread and textile to explore the brain parts that could be damaged by Alzheimer’s disease. During the process I realised that thread means so much more than just something that connects objects but also a tool to mend and reconnect. The main process I applied within the whole project is by using soluble fabric that dissolve when washed in water. This process represents the loss of memory, personality, independence and life taken by the disease but also represents a moment of holding the time and memories that slowly disappearing.
I played around with several ideas for the outcome for my project and I feel that I need to express the loss endured everyday by patients of dementia through a multi-sensory installation that explore a bodily- experience (visions and sound). I also think that I need to communicate information about what is Alzheimer’s disease in a form of a book that feature colourful images so that it would attract public to read and understand. I aim to change the old-perception that Alzheimer’s is an age-related illness.
I also find the professional practice workshops (self-promotion) for preparing ourselves to face the real world once we finish the degree is very valuable to me. I need to build my confidence up and make more works so that I can build my professional portfolio. Including myself in group exhibition also helps me in building network and seeing what is the art world reality is. It is also a way of promoting my work and practice as an illustrator with principles. I understand that as an illustrator I want to put myself as a facilitator to communicate social & cultural issue that need to change, challenge the authority that put public’s needs behind them by being part of the change.
I’m definitely going to miss my final year. It has thought me so much about myself and things that I really care about. Things that I need to improve and even tho I has been a long journey, I have certainly grow a lot as an illustrator. I’m looking forward to my gap year and enjoy myself before planning for the future with master degree study.
As a result of digital networking a.k.a. sending digital invitation to chosen organisations, I have been given an opportunity to be part of my Alzheimer’s project work in Threads: Memory in focus group exhibition at Llandough hospital gallery at University Hospital Wales in Cardiff. The show will run from 9th May to 1st June, 2016 and opening night will be on the 19th of May. I feel blessed that I’m able to participate at this exhibition as it is being held during the dementia week and I hope that my work could reach wider viewers and shine light to Alzheimer’s disease issue.
After few discussion with Prof Zunner from Bristol University and attended Alzheimer’s: beyond the gene? seminar, I feel that it is important to inform the general public about Alzheimer’s disease through a form of ambook that is full with colourful images and important info about it. The intention is so that public can learn about the disease and how it affects someone’s life & community as well as enjoy reading it through the interesting images.
Wax on, Wax off and on our hands and knees. These photos are just a little snippet to our full dedication to make our exhibition FANTASTIC.
My second involvement with LAUGH project by Prof Cathy Treadaway from CARIAD Cardiff is to document a conversation between her team and members of SURPS group & Alzheimer’s society based in Cardiff. The session outcome was very valuable and gave a lot of insight to daily life and how patients really feel about the disease and how they cope with it.
Here’re sketches from the session:
Inspired by Greyson perry’s The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal and David Hockney’s photo collage composition, I’ve made design as one of the final outcome of my project. The work is hand embroidery on different sizes of hoops, put together to look like a collage and texts to highlight the conversation. I chose the colour to be bright because I think it is important to lift the mood and as a reflection of the patients’ life.
Bellow is the 1st finished version illustration shown for Within/Without group exhibition at PaperArts, Bristol. I have made the text into 3D texts using thread to give more impact to the work for Summer show.Further more, I have prepare stitch text which I’m going to display for the degree show.
I always remember the fun memory I had with my late father and my sisters on weekend where we would play records and sing along to it. He loved Engelbert Humperdinck’s songs. He had all of his records and used to perform his songs on stage every year at independence day celebration. Several years after he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he began to forget the lyrics of his fav songs. We used to belt out the ref to Please release me and Quando, Quando, Quando. Although he can’t remember the lyrics no more he was still able to recognise the rhythm of those songs and then played them on repeat.
That memory inspired me to come up with an activity that aims to encourage conversation between Azlheimer’s patients with their carers through listening to music and embroidery. Research shown that music can boost our brain activity that is linked to memory, cognition and problem solving. The embroidery work will take form as an abstract art that is generated from music visualisation apps.
How it work:
- the activity will involve stitching which kit I will provide at the exhibition. The kit includes embroidery hoop and fabric, thread and needle, and instruction sheet.
- Before starting the embroidery work, carer would have to download music visualisation app into their smartphones, laptop or tablet from online app store. The apps that are free to download are iTunes, Audiogasm, Gravitarium or Svarm and Wizzj.
- Once the apps is downloaded, carer can play patients’ fav song on it and then take a screenshot of the abstract art. Sample:
- Carers then can start the embroidery work while listening to the song with the patients and have conversation down the memory lane. Sample is on the 1st above image.
So for the exhibition I have prepare 20 embroidery kits that I will give out to people who are interested and is a carer to Alzheimer’s patients, and if I still have spare I would introduce and give them to nursing home or Azheimer’s Society Cardiff.
I enrolled to Wednesday stitch workshop leaded by Maggie Cullinae. I’ve never touch a sewing machine before, so I was quite nervous. I just need getting use to and practice more what stitch can offer. I started with hand embroidery follow up with free-motion embroidery technique. This technique is great for illustrator because it gives me freedom in drawing with thread. My workshop continued to aplique, fabric manipulation and ended with digital stitch.
I then continued it by participating in artist workshop with Tilleke Schwarz from Nederland. Her stitch work is mainly narrative – reportage style. I learned a lot from this approach because it presents the stitch work that communicates to the viewers. I applied this approach to one of my final work for Field Module – Morocco project.
I’m planning to do more works in stitch for third year and will build up my work in summer.