An Unending Shadow: Works exploring dementia

Exploring a subject that is sensitive to a lot of people’s hearts, mother and daughter duo, Ann and Sophie Cape delve into the dark abstraction of dementia – something that can only be felt to be understood.


Deeply emotive and personal, An Unending Shadow: Works exploring dementia is by no means a product of passing observations, as Ann and Sophie express their own experiences of the impact of having a close relative who is living with dementia.

A key highlight is to join the artists this Tuesday 20 October at Mosman Art Gallery, ‘In conversation with Ann and Sophie Cape’, hosted by Richard Morecroft.

Hear from the artists’ themselves as they discuss the challenges and outcome of developing such a poignant exhibition. Richard will conduct a Q&A with the artists regarding their own individual practices, as well as the shared experiences of attempting to create a resolved and cohesive show that expresses the depth and diversity of dementia.

Whilst An Unending Shadow is by no means an easy viewing experience, what is so striking is its underlying tone of empathy – an attempt to make sense of the phenomena of dementia and its impact within the community.

A topic that is little talked about and discussed in public, the portraits are visual expressions and insights into the emotional and psychological ‘spaces’ that people with dementia inhabit – a telling portrait that those of their family and friends are familiar with.

Whilst the exhibition itself is beautifully balanced, the painting process had a greater impact than both artists expected.

Reflecting upon her personal experience, Ann commented that though she “thought the work would be cathartic… (I) have not fully addressed my role in the situation.”

While Sophie at first, was “interested, excited but unemotional,” reflecting that she was unprepared “for the true reality that hit,” agonizing over the works that she “destroyed over and over.”

A brave exhibition for both of the artists, by visually exploring the sensitive – and largely misunderstood – breadth of dementia, the exhibition stimulates conversations in the greater public community.

Make sure you head along this Tuesday to the talk, ‘In conversation with Ann and Sophie Cape’, as the artists’ stories and paintings shed light on a dark yet important conversation.

‘In conversation with Ann and Sophie Cape’

Tuesday, 20 October
The Grand Hall, Mosman Art Gallery & Community Centre

Bookings essential:

An Unending Shadow: works exploring dementia
Until 29 November
Mosman Art Gallery


Images: Sophie Cape (top) and Ann Cape in the studio (bottom image), photographer Tim Connolly
Courtesy the artists and Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney.

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