Jean with the painting she chose for the outside door to her room at Glenbrae Rest Home, Rotorua. Dec 2012.
The first painting of Sonja van Kerkhoff’s Art for Orientation
project for the December 2012 – January 2013 RAVE (Rotorua Artist Village
Jean Quinlyn (87) at Glenbrae told me that a pine tree is what is important to her. Her father moved with her family to Rotorua to work in the forestry when she was 5 years of age and these trees have made an impact on her ever since. So now the door of her room bears a painting of a pine tree. And visitors can find her at “The Pine Tree.”
Signs and symbols are not only easier to see but can also say something about the person: their history or what they like.
This is a detail of the wall of a house from the 1800s in Southern Germany, August 2012.
Wouldn’t it be fun to say, Grandad’s room is the one with the orange dragon.
Sonja’s “Art for Orientation” project is to create customized paintings for the elderly in a rest home, for their door.
It is easier to find a room in a corridor if there’s a painting of a flower or animal or symbol for both visitors and the residents, and the art can reinforce the individual identity of the resident.
Tailor Made Art
I will interview each person (if possible with their family members) who would want a painting to hang on their door or next to their door, so we come up with a symbol or image they want.
It would be easy to say “her room is at the purple hat” to a new visitor.
My interview will help them decide what it is that they want and the painting hung in the hall is theirs to keep.
It might be a bright red tea-cup painted in the style of a van Gogh painting, a pair of golden scissors, an rainbow in sixteen shades of pink or a green cat with three eyes. It might be a Puhutakawa tree or a star, a hand-shaped cloud or a purple raindrop.
The idea is to hang paintings in a hallway creating strong identifiable elements. The residents might even want each door in a shared hallway to be a differing flower so that hall becomes the hall of the flowers while another hallway could be one with the colourful cats.
So ask your mother, father, whaea, kuia, gran, nan, grandma, grandad, grandpa, koro:
Would you like a painting on your door?
Dutch/New Zealand artist Sonja van Kerkhoff will come and interview you about what you would like. Would you like your favourite animal, a special object, or element of nature or something completely different? Wouldn’t it be fun to say to your visitors, my door is the one with the purple unicorn. Or to say, just look for the van Gogh crimson carnation? Or, “My room’s at the sign of the windmill”
Or several residents might choose a common theme such as butterflies where some choose an artistic interpretation such as the red butterfly above while others choose naturalistic or cartoon images of butterflies.
You will have a say about how the painting is made. It could be impressionist or art deco, a Picasso-like violin or a surrealist fork, like a cartoon or done in a realistic manner.
If you or your family member or friend would like a painting made (on card or other materials) in December 2012 and January 2013, email sonjavank AT hotmail.com or make a comment below giving me a way to meet you at the RAVE studios in early January 2013. You can also ring the RAVE studios (07- 3489008) and pass on a message for me to ring you.