‘Forget Everything: New Art and Dementia’ by Simon Ripley - 01 May 2014

‘Forget Everything: New Art and Dementia’ by Simon Ripley - 01 May 2014

The new exhibition from Art for Life at Musgrove Park Hospital, running from 1st April 2014 – 9th June 2014, is called “Forget Everything: New Art and Dementia”.

Art For Life LaterThe prints in this exhibition have been made in response to an artist residency at Franklyn Hospital, Exeter. Artist and printmaker Simon Ripley jointly ran weekly art workshops with elderly people experiencing mental health illnesses and dementia. Simon explored the ways in which patients responded to prints he made and how they influenced each other’s art work.

A person’s sense of self and personal identity can be taken away by illness, so Simon wanted to offer them the therapeutic benefits of art and also encourage participants to express themselves. For patients, making art became a vehicle for communication through images, song, speech and relationships, with Simon sensitively working alongside patients until the magic revealed itself.

Art For Life Regal

People unfamiliar with making art can be anxious about getting it right and so often feel they are ‘no good at art’. Anxiety can be acute within mental illness. The knack is to create the right atmosphere wherein whatever we do will be okay. The aim of Simon’s project focussed on building confidence through art by working directly with patients to help them express themselves and explore creativity.

The exhibition of prints made by both Simon and the patients demonstrates art’s capacity to become a positive, optimistic human act and the art produced becomes an embodiment of that positivity. Simon has found that abstract images can express and suggest more than representational work where the figurative image can obscure the deeper meaning inherent in the work.

Art For Life SeaHe said: “The positivity in each print I make is a kind of prayer and, working at Franklyn Hospital is a mutual gift - an open-hearted sharing of creativity bearing insights and moments of magic for all involved.”

Art for Life are delighted and honoured to host this compassionate and empathetic exhibition of prints by Simon Ripley as part of his regional touring exhibition funded by Arts Council England.

The exhibition is open every day from the 1st – 9th June in the Musgrove Gallery (link between the Queens and Duchess Buildings), Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton.

For further details or to talk about a visit to the exhibition please contact Sara Dudman, Art for Life curator, Musgrove Park Hospital email:

Pictured is some of the artwork from the exhibition.