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Vanishing Point - Natalia Millman

'Tender Stroke'

'Letter To You'

'Neurons Misbehaving'


"My work investigates the process of ageing and the stigma of dementia, highlighting the damage that time imposes on human body and mind, affecting structures in the brain responsible for language, memories, and consciousness.

I have spent the past two years in my studio making work to understand how people with dementia must have tried to make sense of the world though confusion and realisation of an inevitable end. I wanted to share what I discovered and my family’s story about this complex group of symptoms.

Through my work, I have looked at physical changes that happen to human body through time, the effect of dementia on the brain, the process of grieving, memory loss, social barriers that segregate the old and versions of afterlife. My work “Linked” highlights the closeness of birth and death. My sculpture “Neurons Misbehaving” is representing the protein clusters that accumulate in the brain structure when dementia starts to develop causing loss of connection between neurons. “Grief Elixir” describes the known five

stages of grief and healing when tears are released.

Having produced these pieces, I wish to join forces with support organisations who assist the elderly affected by dementia to raise awareness and compassion. Having analysed the trauma, I am hoping to shift the tragedy narrative and highlight hope and positive choices that people can make to reduce depression and isolation.

My mixed media abstract paintings comment on physical decay and the connection with nature. Both “Fragility” and “What lies beneath” comment on the idea of symbiotics when body fertilises the soil and gives way for new life in nature. My work with wire ash focuses on mortality and rejuvenation when burnt is transformed into new. I incorporated hair and shapes of body parts to draw attention to the beauty of the ageing body and used video and photography to dwell on the importance of human connection in times of loss. Hands featured in video and fabric pieces are symbols of support and hope.

Much of my work is constructed from material found on building sites which I give another life modifying its past function. This includes “Forget me not”, “Many sides of you” and “Fragment of your skin”. What I find resonates with the feeling of care and support for disappearing and unwanted.

I have recently launched a Grief Letter is a community-based project where people can share their personal experience of loss and grief in a form of a letter. I am aiming to encourage healing through my artwork. Together with this project and my creative practice I would like to shine light on people affected by dementia, challenge the ways society addresses dementia. The most important message I would like to deliver through my work: is that life is fragile, memories, care and hope are pivotal, nothing is permanent, and the present moment is all that matters."

See more of Natalia's work on her website & instagram.

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