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Worlds first dementia themed VR installation at the London Art Biennale.

Press release   •   May 08, 2019 15:25 BST

A detail from the painting 'Nowhere to hide'


A Virtual Reality and Art installation which gives viewers a unique insight into the mind and life of an artist who suffers daily with the aftereffects of oral cancer and vascular dementia is being unveiled for the first time at one of London’s most prestigious art exhibitions.

‘Life is Beautiful. Always.’ by artist Marcel Schreur is being unveiled at the 2019 London Art Biennale, a celebration of 120 contemporary artists from 40 nations at Chelsea Old Town Hall on The Kings Road, which will be officially opened by Lady Sophie Windsor and runs between 23rd to the 26th of May, with an exclusive preview event on the 22nd.

Watch the 'Life is beautiful. Always.' trailer here:

A two-time survivor of oral cancer - the impact of which led to vascular dementia - Marcel has collaborated with film and media specialists Dominic Green and Daniel Bacchus from Sheffield Hallam University to create the installation designed to inspire hope and understanding on the impact of the condition.

Detail photo of the art work presented in VR and the art installation "Nowhere to hide".

Daniel Bacchus Senior lecturer at SHU explains;  "The work was developed through an iterative process of interviews, prototyping and personal responses from Schreur, the work generates a space that allows participants to consider aspects of their own mental process through the lens of difference and disability, to embody some of the physical characteristics of Schreur's condition and to help facilitate communication about the experience of living with life-altering disability between sufferers, non sufferers and medical professionals."

The charity raffle associated with the event will go directly to Age UK Kensington and Chelsea to support its mission in caring for those living with dementia. The organisation offers a multitude of dementia and memory loss services including; a Specialist Dementia Advisor and dementia support team who provide support, advice and guidance for those living with dementia and their carers, whilst also working in partnerships towards developing a Dementia friendly Borough. They also run bi-monthly memory cafes to enable social inclusion and support for those living with dementia who are particularly isolated in the community as well as a unique, 12 week ‘Exercise for the Mind’ programme.

Marcel comments on his hopes for the piece:“Those with dementia and mental health issues have so much to offer and teach us with regard to their experiences. I believe this VR piece is a valuable tool in helping medical professionals, family, carers and audiences gain some understanding of what it’s like to live with dementia, other major mental health and life threatening conditions. I hope it goes someway to inspiring dementia care and shaping our response to it. The motto of this piece is ultimately that; "Life is beautiful. Always.” 

A still from the VR and Art installation

Age UK Kensington and Chelsea has been nominated as official charity partner by The Gagliardi Gallery, organisers of the event, due to the unique focus this year’s exhibition which aims to increase understanding of the mental and physical impact of vascular dementia. The event will raise funds to support the charity via an online raffle at http://bit.ly/AUKKCraffleas well as through direct fundraising at the event.

Jess Millwood, Chief Executive of Age UK Kensington and Chelsea, adds: “We are delighted to partner with an enterprise as prestigious as the London Art Biennale. The Biennale takes place during Dementia Action week and we hope this partnership not only raises awareness of dementia but also helps to break down some of the stigma which sadly still surrounds this diagnosis.

The numbers of people living with dementia are steadily increasing with an ageing population and it is vitally important that the right support is in place for people at a time when they need it most.”

Raffle tickets cost £20 each and can be purchased at the event on 22 May or on Age UK Kensington and Chelsea’s website here:http://bit.ly/AUKKCraffle

All funds raised from the raffle will go to the Biennale’s two chosen charities; Age UK and Rotary Club of Kensington and Chelsea.The raffle closes midday on 22 May and winners will be announced by The Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea at 3pm on 24 May.

Age UK Kensington and Chelsea has been nominated as official charity partner by The Gagliardi Gallery, organisers of the event, due to the unique focus this year’s exhibition which aims to increase understanding of the mental and physical impact of vascular dementia. The event will raise funds to support the charity via an online raffle at http://bit.ly/AUKKCraffle as well as through direct fundraising at the event.

Opening Hours

Wednesday
22nd May 2019

Private View
6.30pm - 9.30pm

Thursday - Sunday

23rd - 26th May 2019

10am - 6pm

FREE ADMISSION

Chelsea Old Town Hall

Notes to Editors:

Marcel Schreur’s previous work has been exhibited at the Vatican, The United Nations Global forum on Migration and Development in Istanbul, art galleries in America, Japan and China and has been a member of the Prince’s Trust Art Committee.(http://www.marcelschreur.com/)(http://www.LifeIsBeautifulAlways.com/)

The London Art Biennale is sponsored annually by the Gagliardi Gallery. The gallery also donates a number of prizes each year to the Biennale’s raffle, where all money raised through ticket purchase go to the chosen charities.(https://www.londonbiennale.co.uk/)

Age UK Kensington & Chelsea offers a free and confidential information and advice service for older people, their families and carers including; Benefits and income maximisation, health and disabilities, housing, social care needs, advice on energy efficiency and fuel poverty and assistance with form filling.(https://www.ageuk.org.uk/kensingtonandchelsea/)

My name is Marcel Schreur. My artist name is Mas.s. I have found the creativity to express myself in painting, sculpture, VR, documentary and filming. Intrigued by contemporary society, the beauty of nature and the human . I love life. Life is beautiful. Always. I bleed my life on to canvas or in any other medium. Vibrant, colourful, positive, dynamic, freedom of movement are the hallmarks of my work.

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