As part of the RHA’s New Perspectives series of talks, we have invited artist Debbie Castro, consultant psychiatrist Dr Declan Lyons, Head of Fundraising at St Joseph’s Shankill Siobhan Grant and Photo Ireland Director Ángel Luis Gonzalez to discuss and explore Debbie Castro’s exhibition Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget!
This event is free. Booking is essential with a capacity of 50 attendees.
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 worldwide is thought to rise to 250 million by 2051 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 Charles 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.
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. 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.
This panel discussion will address the effects of and stigma around dementia; the artist’s relationship with photography through her grief process; residual memory; dementia care; and the reality of those living and working with the disease.
Biographies of speakers:
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.
Debbie began her career as a documentary photographer and has refocused her work as a conceptual documentary artist adopting a collaborative approach to understand 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 2010, Castro had her first solo exhibition in Mill St Studios showing The Scarred Landscape as part of PhotoIreland programme and her second large solo exhibition in Bermondsey Project Space London.
Dr Declan Lyons Ph.D. M.Sc. M.R.C.P. (U.K.) M.R.C.Psych is a Consultant Psychiatrist at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services. He is a medical graduate of Trinity College Dublin and trained in General Medicine and Psychiatry in Dublin before undertaking specialist training in the Maudsley Hospital in London.
He has an interest in the mental health of older adults and works with a multidisciplinary team on Vanessa Ward, an acute older adults’ in-patient facility. He is Director of the Evergreen Programme – a therapeutic group psycho educational programme for the rehabilitation of older adults with mental health difficulties. He jointly conducts a memory assessment service in conjunction with the Psychology Department at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.
Siobhan Grant is Head of Fundraising at St Joseph’s Shankill. She devotes much of her time to development and community awareness in relation to dementia and the incredible work of St Joseph’s.
Ángel Luis González is a designer, artist, and curator supporting engaging visual arts practices, winner of Business to Arts David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Awards 2011. His work manifests through PhotoIreland, which he founded in 2010 to stimulate a critical dialogue on Photography. He devises curatorial projects placing conversations in the public realm around visual culture, critical thinking.
Image: Debbie Castro,Irk,2023, 60 x 75cm, Giclée print on Hahnemühle paper, torn.