South Holland artists make a masterpiece from dementia

MEMORY LANE: Carol Parker (third left) with dementia patients and guests at the unveiling of a new mosaic.
MEMORY LANE: Carol Parker (third left) with dementia patients and guests at the unveiling of a new mosaic.

Two South Holland artists have worked with dementia patients to turn their memories into works of art.

Spalding-based artist Carol Parker and mosaic designer Fiona Gurney of Deeping St Nicholas teamed up with dementia patients in Boston to come up with a Memory Lane tiled artwork now on display near the town’s rail station.

The mosaic, called Happy Memories Pieced Together, was unveiled to mark Dementia Awareness Week in a Station to Stump area on Lawrence Lane, Boston, and designed by members of the town’s Memory Lane Group of dementia patients who Carol has worked with since the autumn of 2015.

Carol said: “I was asked by Boston Borough Council and Boston Big Local (which funds time community events in the town) to create a piece of art that people with dementia and their carers could be involved in.

“I said that I’d love to do it with the collaboration of Fiona Gurney who has experience of creating mosaics for public display.

“The process was quite quick as it had to coincide with Dementia Awareness Week (May 15 to 21) so we fitted the memories of dementia patients from the Memory Lane group into five panels to match Boston Rail Station.”

The important thing was the nedd to build a relationship with the group so that we could work with them and not tell them what to do

Artists Carol Parker and Fiona Gurney

For Fiona. the project was similar to the creation of five mosaics in towns and villages throughout South Holland to mark the passing of the Olympic Torch through the area in 2012.

Olympic Torch relay mosaic is pride of Holbeach

“It was a collaboration with students at University Academy Holbeach and I worked with them to produce some designs for each of the mosaic’s tiles.

“This time, I went to a Memory Lane session with Carol where we spoke to dementia patients and their carers to learn what was important to them.

“The important thing was the nedd to build a relationship with the group so that we could work with them and not tell them what to do.”

“We’ve facilitated it but the group took ownership of it and the mosaic is theirs.”

A Boston Borough Council spokesman said: “The project aimed to show that life doesn’t end when dementia begins, emphasising the message spread throughout Dementia Awareness Week.

“Each of the smaller panels was produced by a member of the group to reflect their thoughts, emotions or memories along their life journey.

“Then each tile represents another piece of the puzzle in trying to recall their memories.

“Although one of the inspirations for the mosaic was the archways at the railway station, many observers have been struck by the way the arched ‘windows’ mirror the stonework at (Boston) Stump, which can be glanced at in the same view just across the river.

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