Octogenarians recreates some of the world’s most iconic portraits to celebrate National Day of Arts in Care Homes


Octogenarian ‘life models’ from a Crewe dementia care village have recreated some of the world’s most iconic portraits to celebrate National Day of Arts in Care Homes 2020. Captured on camera, the portraits are to be used in a fundraising calendar, for which donations will go towards purchasing a telescope for residents to enjoy.


Among the paintings captured include works from some of history’s most renowned artists including Picasso, Van Gogh and Grant Wood spanning from 15th century Northern Renaissance to 1930s Modernism.


Natalie Ravenscroft, experience coordinator at Belong Crewe, who led the project, explains: “Many of our residents love art, and keeping everyone active with creative projects is a key part of what we do at Belong. Due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions, we wanted to do something extra special for Arts in Care Homes day, this year.”


Belong colleagues stepped outside their usual roles to become stylists, make-up artists and photographers, working with residents and using recycled materials, props and face paints, to bring their characters to life. The subsequent photoshoot, which took eight hours over the course of two days, saw staff capturing their model’s alter egos for the project.


Natalie Ravenscroft continues: “There’s been a real buzz around the village – everyone has been excited to see the final result. Our models really enjoyed getting dressed up, contributing their ideas, and many reminisced about old times from childhood when they used to play dress up or were involved in school plays. It’s been a great success.”


For one of the more ambitious photos, Picasso’s ‘Portrait of Dora Marr’, Jean, 85, commented: “The make-up tickled my face and felt so relaxing. I can’t remember having my face painted – it looks bright and joyful.” Another resident, Gillian, 80, spoke of taking on the role of Frida Kahlo and her distinct facial features: “Look at my eyebrows! They are marvellous!”.


All profits from the 2021 calendar will go towards the not-for-profit organisation’s fundraising for residents’ activities, with the team aiming to purchase a telescope to enable the village’s residents to enjoy stargazing. The calendar will be available from 1 November. Find out more by emailing enquiries@belong.org.uk


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