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Pushing back against ageism through art

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Art has been used for centuries to send powerful messages about society, so what better way to mark ageism awareness day on Friday, 7 October in our community than through an exhibition celebrating older citizens!

Art Against Ageism, a joint event including Australian Multicultural Community Services (AMCS), Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), and the Commissioner for Senior Victorians, encourages people to think differently about ageing.

The exhibition, to be held in Footscray, will feature works from the AMCS’s Anti-Ageism Art Challenge, which invited artists to challenge the negative stereotypes of ageing and celebrate inclusivity and multiculturalism.

AMCS spokesperson Elizabeth Drozd said ageism is one of the most frequent and subtle forms of discrimination.

“There is not enough respect towards older people in Australia and numerous research has highlighted this. That’s why AMCS has been championing anti-ageist campaigns including our art challenge, to address the negative stereotypes of aging and highlight the wisdom and skills senior Australians offer,” Ms Drozd said.

COTA Victoria CEO Chris Potaris said the narrative surrounding the physical and mental decline associated with ageing is deeply embedded in our culture.

“Everyday, in both subtle and not so subtle ways, older adults are marginalised and even dismissed in our society. At its worst, ageism creates a culture that ignores and tolerates elder abuse and allows the abuse of older adults unabated.”

MAV President Cr David Clark said councils across Victoria wanted to highlight the value older citizens provide our communities.

“Art Against Ageism is a uniquely powerful way to celebrate the value our older Victorians provide and, that by tapping into this knowledge, our communities can greatly benefit,” Cr Clark explained.

Commissioner for Senior Victorians Gerard Mansour encourages everyone to learn about and act on ageism.

“Ageist attitudes, behaviours and stereotypes continue to have enormous impacts on older people’s health, wellbeing, independence and confidence in all areas of life. Ageism Awareness Day provides a valuable opportunity to increase awareness and create change.”

Members of the public interested in experiencing the exhibition can come along this Friday 7 October at Footscray Studio, 148-150 Cowper St, Footscray. Doors open 11am. Entry is free.