International artist to portray dementia experience

London-based artist and filmmaker, Suki Chan, whose work has been showcased worldwide, spanning from China to the USA, has completed a month-long residency at dementia-specialist care village, Belong Crewe, to inform her new multimedia art installation, which will demonstrate the impact of dementia on individuals and their families.

Suki’s project, ‘Conscious’, which is being backed by Arts Council England, will use key insights into dementia, derived from interviews of staff, residents and their families at Belong Crewe, to explore the concepts of memory and consciousness. These findings will provide material for an immersive film installation, which will premiere at Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat, before heading for a national and international tour, including a screening at the Artscience Museum in Singapore.

Speaking of her time at the care village, Suki said: “It’s been a pleasure to get to know everyone at Belong and to share my skills and experience with them, through film, tea parties and arts and crafts workshops. The residency has given me a deeper understanding of dementia and by portraying this through my artwork, I hope to create a positive impact on research in this area, raise awareness and encourage great empathy for all those involved.”

Suki’s residency forms part of the care operator's three-year research project with Bluecoat, which explores how the arts can improve the lives of those with dementia. The unique collaboration, named ‘Where the Arts Belong’, has seen six critically acclaimed artists host an array of creative workshops at the village, to identify how the arts can be effectively embedded into Belong’s upcomingstate-of-the-art developments in Birkdale and Chester, which are due to open in Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020 respectively.

Commenting of the collaboration, Belong Deputy Chief Executive, Tracy Paine, said: “This is a truly groundbreaking project and we are thrilled to be working with Bluecoat to explore how the arts can enhance the lives of those with dementia. Suki’s residency has left many of our residents feeling more engaged, focused and happy and we are confident it will make a real contribution to best practice in this area. We are all looking forward to seeing the final piece of artwork on display.”

Suki, who is an alumnus of Chelsea School of Arts, is famous for her use of light, moving image and sound to weave together scientific research and individual testimony to investigate perceptions of time and space. Past notable exhibitions include Lucida, which featured eye-tracking technology to convey the experiences of those suffering from a loss of sight.

The outcomes of the artist residences at Belong Crewe, including the work of Alan Dunn, Roger Hill, Philip Jeck, Brigitte Jurack and Mary Prestidge, will be showcased at the village in an art celebration later this month.