M16 Artspace

Brian Jones

Life in the Old Dog, Yet

If you want to live a long and fruitful life, you might learn something from the senior citizens featured in this exhibition, who have succeeded in that regard. The stunning photographs show sparkle and life in seniors who continue contributing to society and enjoying life.

Too often, senior citizens are devalued, dehumanised and seen as merely a burden. This is especially true in the aged care context, as examined by the recent Royal Commission, which emphasised the need for dignity and respect for those in care. It is also true more generally, with seniors often seen as just a demographic, with individuals written off as ‘elderly’ or ‘oxygen thieves’ of little intrinsic worth.

This exhibition challenges such views and celebrates the humanity, dignity and value of our seniors.

The portraits bristle with sparkle and life, and the candid, un-posed expressions emphasise the individuality and humanity of the subjects. The larger-than-life, black and white images, crisp, sharp and unvarnished, speak of realism.

The subjects, in their seventies and early eighties, are highly active. They are still contributing to society and enjoying life, notwithstanding the ravages of time, as written in their faces, and other non-visible deterioration – cancer, joint replacements, etc. Their contributions include political and environmental activism, volunteering, grand-parenting and other family support.

These women and men are very much alive as seen in the action shots which include bush-walking, running, croquet, tennis, swimming, busking, athletics throwing events and body building.

These Seniors accept being ‘old dogs’ and showing a bit of wear and tear, but are certainly not ready to shuffle off quietly into the sunset.

Senior citizens are an under-explored area in contemporary Art. Hopefully, this exhibition will inspire other artists to explore this space and some other old dogs to action.

19 April—12 May

M16 Artspace

Blaxland Centre, 21 Blaxland Crescent Griffith ACT