Painting a bright picture of ageing

Emily Scarff and Pat Pilley at the AGWA portraiture workshop

A trip to an art gallery might seem common place for some, but for an isolated older person it can be an uplifting experience with lasting health benefits.

In WA, more than a quarter (28.3%) of over 65s in private dwellings live alone – higher than the proportion for all Australians (Source: Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Securing Our Future). With the ramifications of social isolation comparable to smoking and obesity, it’s a significant public health problem.

On Friday 21st October older people from across Perth participated in portraiture workshops in the Imagination Room of the Art Gallery of WA (AGWA). Taking part were clients from Amana Living’s social program, Amana Living Kites, as well as residents from Moline Village (Karrinyup), Hale Village (Coolbellup), Hale Hostel (Coolbellup) and Frederick Guest Village (Bull Creek).

The workshops were run by AGWA Educator, Lisa Young, who taught portraiture using mixed media with a focus on colour.  The workshops were part of the Amana Living Spring Arts Festival and partnership with the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.

Emily Scarff, Amana Living Manager Enrichment and Allied Health Services, said it’s vital older people stay socially involved and to keep making new connections. 

“Remaining an active part of your community is an important part of staying happy and healthy as we age. These workshops provided our clients and residents with a social outing where they met new people and interacted in a different environment, as well as an opportunity to learn new skills. For some, this was the first time they’ve ever been to an art gallery or had any experience of art since school.”

Amana Living is the 2016 sponsor of the $7,500 People’s Choice Prize for the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.  The community partnership matches Amana Living’s commitment to giving older people opportunities to participate in meaningful activities to enrich their lives.

The Black Swan Prize for Portraiture is brought to the WA public by ARTrinsic Inc – a not-for-profit organisation made up of dedicated people who are passionate about promoting and supporting visual arts in WA.