Citizens Artist Points the Lens at Crisis in the Care System
North London Citizens leader, Annemarie Anang, 32, is exhibiting a series of images, at Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Tottenham, from 12th November to 23rd November, entitled, Mum, Dementia & I, which give an intimate insight into life with her mother, Elizabeth, as together they attempt to make sense of the changes in their lives caused by the onset of dementia.
Annemarie is using the exhibition to highlight the challenges local people face when they need to access care services for older people, and the impact that the UK’s crumbling care system has on family life.
“As more of us live longer it’s inevitable that many of us will need help and support in the form of care services. But the current care system just isn’t equipped to cope.
“Although it is possible to live well with dementia with the right support from professionals, family and friends, dementia is a cruel disease that’s slowly taking hold of my mum. That’s tough enough, but on top of that we’ve had to also manage inadequate and inconsistent care from care workers, many of whom are kind and hardworking, but who aren’t given the right training for what is a difficult job. Most are paid less than a Living Wage and are constantly being rushed from one job to the next, leaving little time to give quality care, let alone build up a relationship with the vulnerable clients they support.
“I decided to create this exhibition to give a personal testimony as to why we should care about care services. Other people write papers and policy documents, and this my way. I hope these images will encourage more discussion about dementia, why care is important and get people talking in the build up to the 2015 election about why these issues should be on every politicians agenda.”
The photographs give glimpses into their everyday life, the coping mechanisms they’ve developed to help Elizabeth understand her own home and daily life within it.
Annemarie and her mum are both members of Stamford Hill’s, St Ignatius Church, where Annemarie has also run a series of ‘Dementia Friends’ information sessions that aim to encourage people to learn more about the disease and how to make their community more dementia friendly.
Sophie Stephens, national community organising charity, Citizens UK, said:
“Annemarie is an instrumental part of the Citizens UK team who is acting across the country to raise awareness of the crumbling care system. We believe that this is an issue which needs to be talked about more openly so as a society we can find ways to help care for the most vulnerable in our communities. These beautiful and personal images give us an insight into life with dementia and the kind of care that’s needed. Quality care where both the care worker and recipient are given the dignity and respect they deserve.”
The exhibition, as well as a sister exhibition Lost & Found, in which portrait photographer Annemarie Anang will be collaborating with a landscape photographer, is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Lost & Found charts the journey of the loss of a parent through each artist’s perspective and invites the public to bring memorabilia to exhibit also.
Mum, Dementia and I will be showing at Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham from 12th - 23rd November with a Private Viewing on the 11th November from 7-9:30 for which free tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite. The exhibition and related events are free and donations are encouraged to the Alzheimer’s Society. For Lost & Found, please see website for more info: www.therealpicture.org