Alzheimer’s Society

alzheimers 1

William Utermohlen – Self Portrait
1967

alzheimers 2

William Utermohlen – Self Portrait
2000

Alzheimer’s society is a membership organisation made up of over 20,000 members. They are working to improve the quality of life of people that are affected by dementia in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Many of their members have personal experience of dementia, either as carers, people with dementia themselves and health professionals. This allows for a wide spectrum of insight and expertise that is channelled into making progress in all aspects of improving the lives of people that are affected by this degenerative disease, as well as supporting the families along through the various stages.

The word dementia refers to a set of symptoms that include memory loss and difficulties thinking, problem solving or language. Dementia is caused by certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or occasionally a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s society staff provide local services including day care and home care for people suffering from dementia in the community. The support that the family members and partners receive is invaluable in order for them to cope with the increasing demands of becoming a carer.

In order to contribute to this cause I would like to propose an online art auction. I was inspired by the work of the U.K based artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1995. He created a heart-wrenching final series of self-portraits over a five year period that documented the gradual decay of his mind due to this crippling disease. I propose that art students or anyone that wants to contribute art work can auction off their self-portraits. By painting ourselves in our own individual style we may form a representation of how we see ourselves at this moment in time, and pay tribute to Utermohlen’s series of self-portraits.

Considering my motivation for supporting this cause and all the factors that have pushed me to get involved, I would like to raise money for Art Group Liverpool which is run by the Alzheimer’s society. My entire family is from Liverpool and I have personally experienced the support from organisations such as these as my granddad was diagnosed with Alzheimers when I was very young. I witnessed the disease take over the person I knew and loved, his personality and spirit gradually drifted away. This is why I am so enthusiastic to give back to this organisation. The Art Group runs an imaginative session facilitated by a Bluecoat Artist. It provides a multi-sensory stimulation as well as social interaction. It is not necessary to be artistic to get creative and express yourself using a variety of materials in a safe and supportive environment. Everyone’s contribution is respected and valued, creating works of art enables people that are suffering from this disease to express themselves through a creative outlet. Raising as little as £500 would enable this group to by the supplies they need to continue helping dementia patients and their carers participate in this unique form of art-therapy.

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