“Broos” (brittle): an interdisciplinary exhibition about fragile elderly
Elderly people are a vulnerable group in our society. In addition to their vulnerability, they have a great deal of knowledge and life experience. I wanted to depict both sides, to be powerful in vulnerability.
Along with two other artists, Henrieke Wielink en Florien Vernooy, I created work for galerie Het Langhuis in Zwolle, with the theme ‘Broos’ (Brittle)
Shortly before our stay at Het Langhuis, I did a unique discovery: the 17 diaries my grandmother had been writing from 1956 until her death in 2008.
After research and analysis I created three books with three different themes; the death and loss of her life-partner, the loneliness and homesickness in the nursing home, and the the decline during aging.
I have visualized the elements of the books and themes at the exhibition; hence the stories are experienced livelier.
The result of our co-creation was a touching visual language, About the vulnerable elderly; each story told in their own way. Although we all worked very different, all the parts came together in a very valuable way.
Just after the death of her life-partner, Hennie writes stories to the man she misses most.
Fragment: It was a nice warm day. I did the laundry, but it is not that big anymore.
Life is like grass, so quick to fade and perish
After a second stroke Hennie must go to a nursing home. In this book she describes her loneliness and homesickness.
Fragment: In my thoughts I am at home, at my table, knitting. Watering the flowers, petting my cats, you can hear them purring so loud. And now I’m in so much pain. I think the hydrangeas in front of the house will be nice in full bloom. I planted them before I had the stroke.
This book carry’s only one word, ’today’, written fifty-two times between 1956 and 2008. The handwriting carries the time in it.