Who does this belong to? It’s a question my great grandmother asked whenever she found stuff lying on the floor. Whose is it? In his final stages of Alzheimer’s my dad had lost his memories. He didn’t know who we were or who he belonged to. Neither did we. Who was this new person? A much milder-mannered man with none of the irritations which we knew to avoid. The strict patriarch we sometimes feared was gone, but 3 crumbs on the table in front of him were worthy of contemplation. Who do any of these lost souls belong to? The state? Are we collectively responsible for their quality of life? If they don’t know if we have been to see them or will ever come again, does it matter? How do we know if they are in pain? Do we dose them up with medication just in case?
In the painting Joe’s head is disappearing and butterflies are flying out. Were they always there waiting for metamorphosis? Was this always his destiny? Could he have changed it if he knew? Could we? I tried to capture some of the bewilderment he felt and the heartbreaking loss of himself.