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Patricia’s room

Jennifer Blau
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Entry Fee: Free

What happens to our sense of self when we lose our memory?  

Patricia’s room explores the onset of dementia in my 90-year-old mother-in-law Patricia. I tried to see the world through her eyes and portray the experience of being ‘here, but not here’.  

Patricia was glamorous, active and engaged until a sudden heart operation triggered confusion and memory loss. She soon became isolated in her home. As conversation became difficult, photography was a wonderful way for me to spend time with her.  

Our portrait sessions became an affirmation as she dressed and posed for the camera. She would continually thank me and say how surprised she was that I considered her a worthy subject – she was “amused to be my muse”.  

These intimate portraits challenge us to consider how we often dismiss older people. I also wanted to acknowledge that her younger self always remains a part of her identity. Having a close relationship allowed me a unique opportunity to witness and share her beauty and humanity in various states of being.


This exhibition is outdoors. Please check what COVID-19 restrictions are in place before you visit. 

I am a photographic artist interested in the emotional landscape and therapeutic possibilities of photography. I explore story and identity in people who may be misunderstood, marginalised, or experiencing challenges in life. I seek to both reveal our shared humanity and encourage acceptance and empathy.  
With a Master of Documentary Photography, my work has been in various prizes, including Head On and Moran Photographic Portrait Prizes. I co-exhibited Acknowledged: Sydney’s Homeless at the State Library of NSW in 2013 and have held several exhibitions in Head On Photo Festival in recent years.  I am the author of The 50 Book: Women Celebrate Life. My book Patricia’s Room was awarded Momento Pro’s ‘Best of 2020 Photobooks’.  
My work as an art therapist powerfully informs my interest in visual storytelling about subjects people deeply value.

This event has concluded
Entry Fee: Free
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