This supporting publication was issued on the occasion of Debbie Castro’s exhibition Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget! which took place at the Royal Hibernian Academy from the 24th of August to the 1st of October 2023. Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget! is an intimate collaboration with the artist’s father, Charles. Multi-layered, it explores the perspective of a person living with dementia with an aim to open up a dialogue for the wider community. There are no answers and no guarantees with this illness, only that it gets progressively worse. The number of people with dementia worldwide is thought to rise to 250 million by 2051 and as such, needs to be discussed as much as possible now.
At the core of the exhibition, Castro considers the life of her father Charles and elements of it that she was previously unaware of before he was diagnosed with dementia eleven years ago, such as his penchant for photography and documenting moments in his everyday life, from site visits for his role as agricultural trader to family holidays and birthday parties. By illustrating the development of her father’s illness and giving his experience a physical form in her exhibition, Debbie invites others to gain a profound insight into the loss of memory. The personal becomes universal. Inside the lost and found memories of Debbie and her father, we are encouraged to form a mosaic of our own recollections, reveries and feelings.
This publication includes text by Patrick T. Murphy, Sarah McAuliffe, Carmel Whelan, Dr. Declan Lyons, Dr. Deirdre Hussey, Dr. Sinéad O’Sullivan and Sandra Ruane. 1
About the Artist
Debbie Castro is an Irish Conceptual Documentary Artist based in London UK working with photography, poetry and moving image. She has a BA in Psychology and Psychoanalysis and an MA in Photojournalism from University of Westminster, London and is an educator in photography.
Her practice explores the complex relationship that people have with control. Working with a variety of media (film, video, polaroid; paint, scissors and tape), she creates psychological portraits that investigate the ebb and flow of embodied existence. For Castro, a portrait is the beginning of an on going relationship with her subject. It is a collaborative dissection of the photographic process. Her collaborative photographic and film works examine the relationship of people and place in order to uncover the points of continuity and discontinuity, control and lack of control.
Castro is curious about people and drawn to understand the psychological desires and the poetry of landscapes. She is interested in the surreal, the life versus the death instinct and uncovering the unconscious in a narrative while working as a collaborative. She is interested in the one off unreproducible image. She works with the image manipulating it with paint, stickers and cutting.
About the Publisher
The Royal Hibernian Academy is an artist based and artist orientated institution dedicated to developing, affirming and challenging the public’s appreciation and understanding of traditional and innovative approaches to the visual arts. The Academy achieves its objectives through its exhibition education and collection programmes. The Academy is funded by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, through fundraising initiatives, through the earned revenue from its Annual Exhibition and by the Benefactors, Patrons and Friends of the Academy. 3