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Busting the stereotypes of ageing

A tuxedo-wearing pianist in action, a life saver in full garb and a defence force representative are among 15 people aged in their 70s, 80s and 90s who gathered on Adelaide’s HenleyBeach for a photoshoot to portray their lives, roles and sea of knowledge in a bid to challenge the stereotypes of ageing.

Also assembled on the shores were a lawyer, choir members, musicians, a teacher, an architect, a grandfather, a javelin thrower, and a vision impaired person with a guide dog.

The scene was orchestrated by artist Andrew Baines who was approached by ACH Group’s Foundation for Older Australians to create an installation that would challenge common perceptions of older people.

Mr Baines responded with the Sea of Knowledge concept. Last Thursday he carried out his vision in front of interested locals, family members of participants, and local identities.

“After months of waiting for the right time of the year, the right tide and the right time of the day, everything came together as if it was meant to be,” Mr Baines said.

“As the sun’s first rays illuminated the mill-pond like sea, pale pink clouds arrived on the horizon to create my promised ethereal vision. Fifteen people eclectically attired stood bravely in the shallows of HenleyBeach as models for this project.

“They were there to promote that they were a valuable part of society and their wealth of knowledge should be shared and valued.”

Sea of Knowledge ACH Group

Charlie Baldacchino plays some tunes during the Sea of Knowledge photoshoot, with other participants in the background.

Most participants were customers of South Australian provider ACH Group and the remainder were ex-board members of the provider.

Charlie Baldacchino, 92, who is an ACH Group client and member of one of the provider’s Sing for Joy choirs, kept everyone entertained by playing the piano and singing throughout the photoshoot.

Fellow client Thelma Zimmerman, 91, wore her defence force uniform emblazoned with her medals and those belonging to her late husband.

“I was happy to participate and wear my uniform again. It has been a very good day,” Mrs Zimmerman said.

All proceeds from the use of images from the photoshoot will support future projects of the ACH Group’s Foundation for Older Australians, which supports programs that create opportunities for older people to remain vital and connected to their communities.

Expressions of interest regarding the artwork are being taken via the following website: Sea of Knowledge.


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