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Art installation highlights loneliness in older people

22nd August 2019


Anyone wandering the Newcastle city centre market recently will have noticed something slightly different from the regular shops, as this where artist Sharon Bailey choose to set up her new art installation.

As reported on the BBC, the installation involves a live performance of an actress delivering a monologue. She is stood in a room, more commonly used to sell market objects, that has now been transformed into a stereotypical older person’s living room, with family photographs on the chest of drawers, floral wallpaper and soft furnishings.

Despite straight stairlifts and handrails available to make the lives of older people easier, it is still challenging for them to find ways they can socialise and interact with others, especially for those who live alone. After having learnt about the crisis in UK social care and that day centres are frequently closing, Sharon received a grant from the Arts Council to visit fifteen older people living alone in Newcastle, Gateshead and Durham.

The installation is titled Home Alone and aims to bring “what is normally hidden from view... to public attention". Sharon continues to tell the BBC: “The words from the diary and the transcriptions from the interviews I gave to writer Catrina McHugh and from this mass of material she's created a really poignant monologue.

"I had the idea of an outdoor living room which would contain pictures that I'd taken but also I borrowed pictures from people's houses to make it kind of authentic, and Barbara Heslop (an actress) sits there and delivers it. It's hard-hitting, but I think it's really important because a lot of it is hidden behind closed doors.

"People are feeling forgotten, feeling under-valued, almost like they aren't part of the community anymore - it's something we should all be aware of. The stories are important and they need to be told. We all need to listen. Our Social Care system is in crisis and things have to change."

The art installation highlights the importance of getting outside and socialising as you get older. If you need some inspiration as to what you can get up to, head over to our blog where you can find everything from the best country parks to the most accessible picnic locations.

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only and are up to date as of the time of publishing