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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1620

Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle) (13:51): Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the 'Zel: Mind to Hand' art exhibition at the Curve Gallery in Newcastle. The exhibition celebrates the creative and colourful work of 88-year-old Zel Caddey, a truly remarkable woman who found her passion for art later in life. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011, Zel embraced the opportunity to express herself through the creation of vibrant and insightful artworks. This has continued beyond her ability to communicate verbally.

Zel's style is characterised by an emphasis on narrative, colour and instinct. Her artworks capture a world full of friends, familiar places, memories and smiling faces. Zel's achievements are both inspiring and hopeful, with studies showing that art therapy can give back to Alzheimer's patients some of what the disease has taken away. By stimulating the senses, the experience of creating or enjoying a piece of art can awaken dormant memories and encourage conversation—whether it be verbally or through the use of colour and form.

I thank the Curve Gallery, Alzheimer's Australia NSW and Zel's family and friends for supporting the exhibition, and the team at Hippocrates Aged Care facility in Mayfield who have enabled Zel to become their artist in residence. As our population ages and the number of families affected by Alzheimer's trebles to more than 900,000 over the next 35 years, the importance of investment into research and the support of diversional therapies such as art therapy to treat Alzheimer's cannot be understated. Aged care and dementia are very real issues facing older Australians— (Time expired)