‘Wonderful exhibition’ to break down age-related stereotypes through art

May 16, 2023
The project not only produces exceptional pieces of artwork, but it also nurtures deep bonds between different age groups. Source: Getty Images.

An innovative art project is receiving praise for its efforts to challenge and break down ageist attitudes and stereotypes.

The Centenarian Portrait Project by Teenagers is a nationwide portrait project that brings together 465 gifted young artists who have painted the portraits of 465 extraordinary individuals aged 100 years or older.

Not only does this project yield remarkable works of art, but it also fosters profound connections between generations.

Created by Rose Connors Dance, the project’s creations have already graced galleries in every state throughout the nation with the culmination of the exhibition set to be held at the esteemed Belconnen Arts Centre from May 19 to July 2, during a highly anticipated six-week exhibition called 100 Canberra.

Dance brought the project to life as a means to foster empathy, shatter age-related stereotypes, and embrace the power of storytelling through art.

“We brought members of the community together who otherwise may never have met. It’s been a privilege to expand the initiative over the past seven years and very heart-warming to revisit portraits from the whole journey, which feels like reuniting with old friends,” Dance said.

Age Discrimination Commissioner, The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO met with and listened to the stories of many of the participants, revealing that the “project has sparked magical relationships, understanding and strong bonds.”

“Discrimination is based on pitting one side against another or others. Age discrimination can affect both young and old and can have devastating impacts on people’s health, wellbeing and self-esteem,” Patterson said.

“We know ageism is a major factor which prevents fair and equal treatment in gaining and keeping jobs, in receiving human-centred aged care, in the way older people are sometimes treated by family members resulting in elder abuse, and simply in the way society may not support people to age positively instead of pitching it as a time we all decline.

“This project has sparked magical relationships, understanding and strong bonds. 100 Canberra is a fitting finale of this beautiful project. It highlights the rich tapestry of life in Australia, not only through the amazing artworks, but the stories uncovered by connecting younger and older people.

“I congratulate Rose, the supporters of the project and of course the participants and their families for their generosity of spirit, talent and commitment. I encourage you to think of the stories behind the portraits and if you can, come to see this wonderful exhibition.”

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up