Debbie Castro, Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget!


Petronella Brown Gallery
24 Aug, 2023 - 1 Oct, 2023

A sensitive and thought-provoking exploration of life, love and loss, Debbie Castro's 'Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget!' is the artist's first solo exhibition in Dublin and the RHA is delighted to host this show in its Petronella Brown Gallery this autumn.

Age is a privilege, unless you forget! is an intimate collaboration with the artist’s 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 to rise to 250 million and as such, needs to be discussed as much as possible now. 

At the core of the exhibition, Castro considers the life of her father Charlie and elements of it that she was previously unaware of, before he was diagnosed with dementia eleven years ago, such as his penchant for photography and documenting moments in his everyday life, from site visits for his role as agricultural trader to family holidays and birthday parties. Debbie and Charlie are united by their unique way of seeing and representing the world – in fact, if one were to combine Charlie and Debbie’s photographs, it is quite possible that viewers would struggle to identify the image maker. Connecting their individual practices, the pair found a kind of common ground and Debbie was inspired to not only scan her father’s images, but to manipulate and develop them further on the basis of recorded conversations with him.

By illustrating the development of her father’s illness and giving his experience a physical form in her exhibition, Debbie invites others to gain a profound insight into the loss of memory. The personal becomes universal. 

Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget! encourages visitors to find their own unique way of responding to the show and to experiences they may have had, of witnessing the decline in memory of people in their lives. It is through engagement with the exhibition that viewers will learn more about the experience and practice of the artist, while discovering more about themselves. Inside the lost and found memories of Debbie and her father, we are encouraged to form a mosaic of our own recollections, reveries and feelings.

Artist biog

Debbie Castro is an Irish artist based in London. She earned a BA in Psychology and Psychoanalysis and a MA in Photojournalism from the University of Westminster, UK.

Castro began her career as a documentary photographer and has refocused her work as a conceptual documentary artist, adopting a collaborative approach to understanding life and photo therapy. She explores the subtle unconscious action of control or “lack of control” with a particular interest in the death drive of mental health.

She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in PhotoIreland 2010, 2011, 2012, 2022. In 2018, Castro had her second large solo exhibition in Bermondsey Project Space London. 

Castro is an experienced facilitator and tutor (informal and formal learning practices and contexts), having led numerous workshops and professional development programmes to support early career photographers.

  • Date:

    24 Aug, 2023 - 1 Oct, 2023
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