26 September 2023

Canberra exhibition tackles age of life

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A new exhibition opening in Canberra has been lauded by the Australian Age Discrimination Commissioner for dismantling ageist stereotypes and fostering strong connections between teenagers and centenarians.

The Commissioner, Kay Patterson said the Centenarian Portrait Project by Teenagers project was an ambitious seven-year long, nation-wide portrait project of teenage artists painting people aged 100 years or older.

Dr Patterson said the project has had exhibitions in every State throughout Australia before this final six-week exhibition, 100 Canberra, at the Belconnen Arts Centre from 19 May to 2 July.

“Discrimination is based on pitting one side against another or others,” Dr Patterson said.

“Age discrimination can affect both young and old and can have devastating impacts on people’s health, wellbeing and self-esteem,” she said.

“According to the World Health Organisation, some of the most effective ways to counteract ageism are education and intergenerational projects, and the Centenarian Portrait Project by Teenagers has both elements.

“Arguably the nation’s most extensive intergenerational arts initiative, the project involved 465 teenage artists who were matched with 465 centenarians, for an exchange beyond the canvas that created not just beautiful artworks, but meaningful connections spanning 80-90 years or more.”

Dr Patterson said she had met many of the participants and their stories highlighted not only the diversity of younger and older people but also the ways in which they were alike.

She said the project had sparked magical relationships, understanding and strong bonds.

100 Canberra is a fitting finale of this beautiful project,” the Age Discrimination Commissioner said.

“It highlights the rich tapestry of life in Australia, not only through the amazing artworks, but the stories uncovered by connecting younger and older people.”

Further information on the Centenarian Portrait Project by Teenagers project can be accessed at this PS News link.

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