Living with Alzheimer’s: A Harmonica for Ronnie

Twenty immensely powerful images tell the story of a father’s last five years of life following a diagnosis of dementia, captured by his son, artist and photographer Mark Seymour.

Andipa Gallery are proud to announce a special non-profit exhibition of works by fine art photographer Mark Seymour titled, 'Living with Alzheimer’s: A Harmonica for Ronnie' in support of Alzheimer’s Society.

Andipa is hosting the exhibition during World Alzheimer’s Month: ‘Remember Me’, from Monday 5 September to Saturday 8 October 2016 free to the public. The exhibition celebrates Ronnie’s life and relationship with his devoted wife Winnie and his family, but also chronicles in powerful detail, the impact of the illness on the man they all loved. The curated works are selections from the photographs Mark took during the course of everyday life with Ronnie, initially at home, but then in hospital and finally during the time he spent in the care home when he needed around the clock assistance.

Despite the many hardships, there were core memories that still twinkled in Ronnie’s eye; seeing Winnie come to visit, a cup of tea and a piece of cake and a special symbolic object very dear to Ronnie, his harmonica. Two key images show Ronnie at different stages of dementia playing his harmonica. Antony Dannecker of Dannecker Harmonicas saw the image of Ronnie with his harmonica and was so moved by the images and Ronnie’s story that he contacted Mark to pledge his support by sending a harmonica to display alongside the images.

This is a non-profit exhibition with the aim of raising money and awareness of dementia through raising funds for Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia charity. Andipa Gallery will be open daily Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday) for free viewings with more details about a launch event coming soon.

Mark Seymour, Artist:

'Dad was my hero, my compass point, my biggest supporter, my role model. Taking photographs of Dad was something I had always done and so it was totally natural to continue recording his life through the last years as Dementia took hold. It was only as I sat in front of the computer editing the images that I realised the significant change that was happening and that’s when I would shed my tears. I knew that the photographs told the real story of Dementia and I wanted to use these to raise awareness. It was important that I got Mum’s blessing first, and I know Dad would have been very proud. This exhibition is really important to me and I am so grateful for the support of Andipa and the Alzheimer’s Society for this opportunity to share Ronnie’s story.'

Acoris Andipa, Director at Andipa Gallery:

'I instantly felt the emotive and heartfelt power of these images when Mark first showed them to me in the gallery. It was probably the fastest decision I’ve made to offer Andipa’s space to exhibit these thought provoking works while also raising money and awareness of dementia.'

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:

'We’re delighted Mark Seymour and Andipa Gallery are collaborating during World Alzheimer’s Month to give these special photos of Ronnie a place to be enjoyed and celebrated. People often think that dementia can mean the end of doing the things you enjoy - but Mark’s photographs beautiful capture his dad’s continued passion and enjoyment for life and his cherished harmonica.

'The awareness and funds raised will help us continue tackling the stigma around dementia, support people affected to live well, and fund vital research to help find a cure.'

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