Artist: Connor O’Brien
Gallery: CSULB Scool of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Connor O’Brien is a senior in CSULB’s School of art majoring in photography. His love for pictures and film started when his brother handed down a camera to him and “it just felt right”. He began obsessing in taking pictures that completely captured the emotion and details that are usually only appreciated in person.
The exhibition consisted of a film playing at the back of the gallery showing the morning routine of the artists father. The film a showed the process of caregiving that him and his brother give to his father. This included assisting him out of a medical bed, changing, bathing, and feeding his father. The film consisted of many close up frames of his fathers face to capture the emotions that are passing through his father.
The artist felt the need to exhibit this because this is something that happens everyday in many peoples lives and it has been his life for 6 years. This film is self expression, a glimpse into the mind of the artist.Giving care to his father has been a priority to him because of the emotional relationship that he had with his father before dementia. He sees this transition as a hand off, his father did so much for him when he was still healthy and everything that he is doing now is for him. The exhibition was to capture the scenes that give him purpose everyday.
I have no experience with taking care of the elderly much less with a condition such as the one the artist is in, so i had many questions to ask as to how taking care of his father in such a loving way has affected his life. He mentioned that this has been his realty for a quarter of his life but yet it still feels like yesterday that he still had his father. He said although now he just has his body he still is dedicated to caring for him because of the care he received as a child. I can only imagine how much you must prioritize your life as a great amount of time and attention must be given to care for his father so i asked him how this has affected his social relationships. He agreed that it is very time intensive and has definitely brought to light the people that are truly there for him and has left only strong relationships. In my culture it is greatly valued to care for your elderly and is frowned upon when placed in a nursing home. This is true in my culture because of the reality that most parents devote their lives to nurturing you and it is assumed that you will want to do the same for them although i personally believe that yes one wants the best for our parents but at the same time we must measure our ability to care for them. I asked if he feels the same and how he felt about placing elderly in a nursing home. He says he agrees that one should want to care for the people that made us who we are. His standing on nursing homes is that it is conditional and that they can be very costly but if the person is in a situation where that is all they can provide then that is the thing to do.