Photographer Bunshri Chandaria Launches Artist Book Depicting Dementia Experience at Museum Event
On Sunday 29th January 2023, celebrated photographer Bunshri Chandaria is launching Silent Voice, an artist book which depicts a photographic exploration of dementia, at an event hosted by St Alban’s Museum and Gallery.
The book launch event will include an artist in conversation discussion with publisher Eddie Ephraums and a multi-media installation designed to break the stigma so often attached to dementia.
Bunshri was awarded a Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society for Silent Voice, which touches on diaspora, culture and family dynamics.
Inspired by her late mother-in-law’s experience of Alzheimer’s disease, Bunshri has created stunning images which make visible the invisible interior world of a person living with Alzheimer’s.
Bunshri said: “The Alzheimer’s diagnosis of my late mother-in-law, Ramaba, alarmed and saddened me. She was still the epitome of beauty but a disconnect between her and the world had set in. She could not communicate in a manner people were accustomed to. They did not know how to react or interact with her. She went quiet.
“I felt a deep need to give her a voice. Fortunately, I was very close to her and was privileged to hear many of her untold stories before she passed away peacefully.
“Through Silent Voice, I make visible the invisibility of her Alzheimer’s condition. I created images to evoke visceral response in the viewer, to emphasise her foggy, confused mind. I wanted the viewer to pause: to look back and forth between images and her spoken memories – to reflect on the harshness of the disease.
“The time constraint of her daily needs had prompted me to photograph spontaneously and intuitively, steering me in a new way: to slow down and breathe, to be light and playful – to embrace her changing world. The project had been my solace, helping me to unleash the deep sadness and loss I felt within.
“I am delighted to be working with St Albans Museum and Gallery on bringing awareness about a harsh subject in an inspiring and creative manner. I look forward to seeing how the public respond to the event – I hope it will encourage people to reflect on how Alzheimer’s can affect us.
Tim Parry, Director at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Bunshri’s chronical of her mother-in-law’s incredible life, from exotic global travels to a trip to the cinema, reads and views as a wonderful celebration.
“It must be reassuring to them both that the essence of Bunshri’s mother-in-law and her place in the world will be forever preserved. And that this has been achieved through Bunshri’s intimate photography and through her mother-in-law’s words makes it all the more powerful.
“There are almost one million people living with dementia in the UK and unless we act, one in three children born this year will develop dementia in their lifetime. Alzheimer’s Research UK exists to make life-changing research breakthroughs, giving hope to families and future generations. Fantastic awareness-raising efforts like the Silent Voices artist book launch event will help push these vital conversations about dementia forward.”