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Art project reflecting on wisdom of elders

A photographic exhibition combining a collection of photo’s and quotes of residents is the result of an intergenerational art project created at Victorian residential care facility Mercy Place Wyndham.

Residents and media students worked together on an art project titled Reflections - The Wisdom of the Elders
Residents and media students worked together on an art project titled Reflections - The Wisdom of the Elders

Each Monday pastoral care associate Susan Frykberg meets with residents to discuss a topic of interest, which includes everything from winter to loneliness and love.&

“I usually create a two page collection of quotes on each subject, which I take from a variety of sources ranging from the Bible to movie stars,” Ms Frykberg explains.

“The residents and I then spend an hour discussing the topic and responding to the quotes. Occasionally we even break into song.”

Ms Frykberg was so impressed with the wisdom residents were sharing during these sessions, that she started collecting the quotes.

“I thought the residents’ advice was too good not to share. On the theme of tragedy, one resident said ‘My tragedy happened 40 years ago, yet even now, each day I have to keep accepting it’.

“On learning, a 96-year-old resident’s mantra wasEach day, you should learn a new thing’,” Ms Frykberg continues.

She then came up with the idea for an art project titled Reflections - The Wisdom of the Elders and invited Vocational Education and Training (VET) media students from MacKillop College in Werribee to capture images of the aged care residents during one of their weekly reflection sessions.

The result is a photographic exhibition consisting of large black and white photos combined with each resident’s quote. The images were unveiled earlier this month in front of residents, staff and Mackillop College students.

“The exhibition is truly something special and it’s been a wonderful intergenerational experience for both our residents and local teenagers to work on together,” Ms Frykberg says.

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