Aged care art competition renews resident’s passion
Artist Irena, 96, was reluctant to join the art class at Allity’s Greenwood home at Normanhurst, eventually being persuaded by a friend to take up a brush.
Now she has played an integral role in the home winning a Group-wide art competition and is planning a portfolio of work.
Irena says she her long career in the fashion industry and family connection to Europe have inspired her newly found love for painting.
“I grew up in Romania but during the war my parents and I ended up in Austria as displaced persons,” Irena said.
“After the war ended and I met my husband, we decided to come to Australia in 1955.
“I started working in a boutique in Wahroonga, bought it and then ran that for 25 years travelling back to Europe twice a year to pick the next season’s line.
“I was used drawing from my work in fashion, so I was used to everything being precise and perfect.”
After some convincing from a friend, Irena joined the weekly art classes at Greenwood as a way to meet new people after moving into the home seven months ago.
“I thought painting was pointless and for the first few weeks, I didn’t do much and I didn’t like what I did but then I started to love it with a passion.
“Now, if you ask me, all I want to do is paint and now I have a whole portfolio of work.
“I love painting landscapes and buildings – I wanted to become an architect but my father didn’t think it was very ladylike to climb over building sites.
“I have been getting books from family and friends and have been copying some beautiful work from French painters as practice.”
Irina’s work was among artworks displayed in the Bolton Clarke Group’s first annual residential aged care art competition this year, contributing to Greenwood’s first place position at the recent judging.
“We ran our art exhibition over four days so that family and friends had opportunity to come and see so many of the great artworks our residents have created,” said Ainsley Hodgson, Greenwood Lifestyle Services Coordinator.
“We have a very vibrant art community here at Greenwood, so we had roughly 1200 paintings to go through and decide which to display.”
The competition invited residents at each of the Group’s 87 homes to develop a creative exhibition of resident work.
“We took photos of all of pieces and displayed them on the projector so residents, family and friends could come and look through the work easily,” Ainsley said.
“During our exhibition Irena made a speech about her newly found passion for art and how it has helped her learn and grow again.”
She said Irina’s passion had helped make the home a winner despite tough competition, with residents now preparing for next year.
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