Inhaling each other’s soul

Candid, loving photos captured in Ballarat are playing a role in trying to change the global picture of dementia.

POWERFUL: Ballarat couple Jane Sandow and Rob Trinca feature in The Kiss, an exhibition aiming to challenge perceptions about dementia. Picture: Lisa White, The Social Photographer

POWERFUL: Ballarat couple Jane Sandow and Rob Trinca feature in The Kiss, an exhibition aiming to challenge perceptions about dementia. Picture: Lisa White, The Social Photographer

Celebrate Ageing’s Museum of Love is filled with images of people across the nation celebrating the lives and passions of people living with dementia. Ballarat has a strong presence, largely due to leading steps here to become a dementia-friendly community.

The Kiss has proven a particularly powerful exhibition, showcasing work of The Social Photographer Lisa White, whose campaigns have featured in Vanity Fair and Huffington Post. Simply, the exhibition is people with dementia kissing family and friends in a bid to promote respect, dignity and human rights.

There is a fascination looking at The Kiss. People are saying you can't tell who has dementia. - Celebrate Ageing director Catherine Barrett

It takes inspiration from the Hindu Vedic Sanskrit texts where kissing was described as inhaling each other's soul.

Calebrate Ageing director and museum curator Catherine Barrett wants to change Google. Dr Barrett said googling ‘dementia’ brings up graphics of brains falling to pieces, while googling ‘people with dementia’ shows angst or despair.

“There’s nothing really like this, especially The Kiss,” Dr Barrett said. "There is a fascination looking at The Kiss. People are saying you can’t tell who has dementia.

Say dementia and people tend to think of diseased brains. People with dementia are human beings first. This is about small acts of love.”

Museum of Love launched in Ballarat at a national symposium on dementia and love in February and had more than 1000 unique views from across the world in its first week going live online late last month.

The 100 Stories Project, which forms part of an exhibition, had a meeting in Ballarat last week with 12 stories in progress across this region.

Dr Barrett said one was a short film of local skateboarders who talk about people in their lives with dementia. Another is a knitting and pattern strip depicting one woman’s life journey and loves.

The next 100 Stories information sessions are at Ballarat North Community House on Wednesday, May 3. For details, or to participate, email director@celebrateaging.com.

Visit Museum of Love: www.celebrateageing.com/museum-of-love.html