Nadja Ryzhakova

iPainting

Tangled Memories, Forgotten Present (2016)

Mixed media: Tempera on canvas, stitching 50x100cm

It is my respond to the topic of dementia trigged by Dementia Awareness Week 2016. The theme of dementia is very personal to me. My grandmother began developing dementia in 2009. First she became very forgetful, then began losing orientation in space. When our family realised that she will need 24-hour care, she moved in to live with us. I was witnessing how her personality is changing every day. My mom was the main carer for her. As we developed understanding of the illness and how it manifests itself, we explored ways of engaging with the past often by looking at old photo albums. Even though this helped to deal with her decline into dementia, she later stopped recognising her family members. It was so painful to see how her consciousness was getting lost in the maze of past memories, and got entangled with fantasies. My work is the creative reflection of my personal witnessing of this disease.