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Dementia Awareness Artwork


JonJo Elliott writes: I have just completed a project for De Montfort University which may be of interest to your readers. 

I'm a professional artist living in Kibworth and have exhibited my art in New York and London this year. I'm also De Montfort University's art and culture project manager, where I create and deliver arts based projects such as the weekly Saturday art clubs I run in Leicester, These regularly see 100 people engaging with the arts.


I was asked by the university to create an artwork which would raise awareness of dementia and its effects on people and their families.


Over the last six months I’ve collected 300 photographic images of people’s hands holding objects which are very personal to them. These ‘Objects of Reference’ can be used by dementia patients to trigger memories from their past, so I had the idea to collect as many images as possible which I then digitally collaged into a portrait. 

The portrait features a man called Keith Hughes whom I met at a music therapy session, where sound is used to stimulate activity in dementia patients. After speaking to him and his wife I knew he had to be featured in the artwork. 


The final artwork measures 6ft x 4ft and was unveiled live on BBC East Midlands News on 14 May, followed by a  feature and a live interview. I have also created a book to accompany the project, which features images and stories from the people I photographed.


The finished artwork will be displayed at De Montfort University and the next stage of the project will involve dementia patients creating sculptures with me which I hope to exhibit in Leicester once completed. 


More info can be found at






Issue 403
June 2018






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