I am about to embark on a new project in collaboration with Musician Rich Thair. After we received a successful ‘research and development grant’ application from the Arts Council of Wales. Our project ‘Age and Legacy’ will take place at The Pontardawe Art Centre. The underlying theme to our work will be the stage and performance with a specific interest in Alzheimers.
My interest in the latter developed in my practice when my maternal grandmother was living with condition Alzheimers. I started to record her stories of ghosts who would visit her at night using my camera.
After my grandfather passed away in 2003 my Nan slowly deteriorated with her mental health. It started with her literally forgetting words and to the point she would become upset, to saying ‘no’ to everything which co-in sided with her depression. Until finally my Nan would start telling me stories about visitations from other worldly souls in the middle of the night.
The story she would tell me would haunt her for the rest of her lucid life. But whether this was her going ‘crazy’ or the actual ‘truth’. It was my Nan’s ‘truth’ and that’s all that mattered.
The photograph below shows my Nan’s bedroom. To the left of the photograph is the bottom of her bed. Placed on the floor is a rug and the exact spot where the apparition would appear named ‘Billie’ he would stare at my Nan in her bed. She explained he wore a hat with its peak covering his eyes, and he would peer down at her with a fixed gaze.
My Nan also shared with me the other soul who would visited her called ‘Rose’. She would appear next to my Nan’s bed peering out of the window. The photograph below is a re-enactment of this experience with myself playing the role of ‘Rose’ and my Nan the photographer who captured this image.
The visitation from ‘Billy’ and ‘Rose’continued every night of my Nan’s lucid days. And on reporting her experiences to her Doctor she was then heavily medicated with sleeping tablets.