Self Contained: New exhibition at Bethlem Gallery by Shelley Wilson

As part of Science Week 2011, artist Shelley Wilson will be exhibiting sculptural and photographic work exploring issues surrounding dementia at the Bethlem Gallery. The exhibition addresses the impact of dementia on the collective mental health of the sufferer and their carers, and aims to stimulate debate around identity and the stigma attached to its loss.

Shelley said her motivations for the project came from personal experience.

“I have an interest in this field as one of my close family members was diagnosed with the disease years ago. My work usually explores notions of identity within myself and in society. With the work in this exhibition the crucial difference is that I am looking at the increasing loss of identity in sufferers of dementia and their decreasing ability to identify the family as the disease takes hold,” Shelley explained. “The work also explores how dementia impacts on the families’ own sense of identity as a whole, surely, this has to be the cruelest aspect of the disease.”

The artwork will be shown across two venues simultaneously with the sculptural work on display at The Bethlem Gallery and the SGDP Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry housing the photographic installation. The project was funded by Arts Council England and developed in collaboration with Dr Justin Sauer, Consultant Psychiatrist and Honorary lecturer at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and the Institute of Psychiatry.

The exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery opens on 2 March, and runs until 1 April, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and Saturday 12 March, from 11am – 6pm.

The photographic installation at the Institute of Psychiatry is open between 30 March and 24 June.

www.BethlemGallery.com

Shelley Wilson image

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