6pm 24 August

25 August- 1 October

Royal Hibernian Academy
Petronella Browne Gallery
15 Ely Place, Dublin

Opening Hours
Mon-Tue 11am-5pm
Wed 11am-6:30pm
Thu-Sat 11am-5pm


Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget!

Debbie Castro

Age is a Privilege, Unless You Forget! is an exploration of life, love and loss. At the core of the exhibition, Debbie considers the life of her father Charlie and elements of it that she was previously unaware of before he was diagnosed with dementia twelve 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. Debbie and Charlie are united by their unique way of seeing and representing the world – in fact, if one were to combine Charlie and Debbie’s photographs, it is quite possible that viewers would struggle to identify the image maker. Connecting their individual practices, the pair found a kind of common ground and Debbie was inspired to not only scan her father’s images, but to manipulate and develop them further on the basis of recorded conversations with him.

Through processes of cutting, scraping and the use of stickers to manipulate her father’s photographs, Debbie signifies both the extent of his cognitive health and the physical approach she has adopted to grieve her father while he is still with her. When viewing her sliced images, you can feel her pain and, at the same time begin to understand the disorder of the memories of those with dementia. By illustrating the development of Charlie’s illness and giving his experience a physical form through manipulated photographs; a projection of her father’s images and a 3D scan of his head, this exhibition invites others to gain a profound insight into the loss of memory. The personal becomes universal.

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.

Debbie is an experienced facilitator and tutor (informal and formal learning practices and contexts), having led numerous workshops and professional development programmes to support early career photographers.

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