On Thursday 17 October, the artistic residents of St. Basil’s Homes, an aged care provider for the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, held an exhibition to auction of their artwork.
Residents in low care and high care, including those with dementia, from St Basil’s facilities in Lakemba, Annandale, Miranda, and Randwick participated in art therapy sessions for two years in order to complete these paintings, were sold to an enthusiastic crowd of dignitaries, clergy, families, and visitors.
Art therapy is an activity conducted at every St. Basil’s aged care facility. Residents worked on pieces either as a group or individually, with the results of their art surprising observers as much as the residents themselves, many of whom have not previously painted.
“I never dreamt that at this late stage of life, I would be entering a new and fulfilling chapter where I am learning, creating and giving to others. It gives me great joy,” said Tom, one of the artists.
The benefit of art therapy has become apparent among residents living with dementia. Initially, they could not focus for more than five minutes, however, a year later they are completely immersed in their artistic activity for well over an hour. “This is evidence of neural growth and brought on by learning something new,” says their teacher, Viktorya Maksimova, who remarks that “this is one of the most exciting elements of art therapy”.
St. Basil’s CEO, Father Nicholas Stavropoulos reminded attendees, “Our residents don’t only have a fulfilling and meaningful activity in Art Therapy, but also the opportunity to contribute to the community. Can you imagine how rewarding it for them to fulfill their desire to ‘feed the children’ by selling their artworks?”
The auction raised $30,000 and it will be sent to St. Tabitha Orphanage in Fiji.
*All images by Nick Bourdaniotis/ Bourdo Photography (Copyright)