Portraits of Dementia

Kinney-Lindstrom Gallery
July 5 – August 16, 2024

More than 50 million people are living with dementia globally. In the United States, one in three seniors suffers with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at the time of their death. And yet despite the millions of individuals and families affected, dementia is often a taboo subject with limited public awareness or discourse. Portraits of Dementia destigmatizes those living with dementia through moving portraits and stories of lives well lived.

Joe Wallace, Rene Perkins, ink on paper, 2021. 28 x 35 1/4 inches (framed, approximate); Image courtesy of the artist.

Artist Joe Wallace has been a portrait photographer and storyteller for 20 years. Like many, Wallace has a deeply personal connection with dementia. His maternal grandfather and hero, Joe Jenkins, had Alzheimer’s. His maternal grandmother had vascular dementia. And in recent years, his mother has begun her journey with the disease. Wallace was frustrated by the common, one-dimensional narrative of dementia—futility, despair, and loss.

These are real and important elements of the dementia journey, but focusing only on the narrowest of views, very little is done to change the stigma of those living with the disease. Wallace feels strongly that to give the audience courage to act in ways large and small, you must show the whole story.

Portraits of Dementia is toured by ExhibitsUSA, the national touring exhibition program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and expand the depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities, rural and urban. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email MoreArt@maaa.org or visit www.eusa.org.

The Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and beyond. To learn more about M-AAA grants, programs, exhibitions, and fellowships, visit www.maaa.org.

Portraits of Dementia is funded locally by the Mason City Clinic Charitable Giving Fund