MAMMA: In the Meantime
January 26 - March 21, 2017
In 2009 the Gallery featured Tony’s paintings and drawings that reflected the artist’s transition to rural life in Southwestern Ontario. Little did he know that seven years later he will become a social media sensation as a fine art photographer. Neither did he foresee that his aging mother, Elia, would be the inspiring force behind a brand new chapter in his artistic career, and the fame that came with it.
Sparked by his interest to challenge himself artistically in a new medium, Tony bought a professional camera in 2014. While still in his exploratory stage of photography he moved his mother from Toronto to his home and studio in Durham. Elia, then 92 years old, showed early signs of dementia and was unable to live on her own. Living together became a life changing event for both of them. It marked the beginning of an incredible journey that reinforced their relationship, turned Elia into an artist, collaborator, model and muse, and took Tony’s artistic ventures to new heights.
Over the course of a year numerous photo sessions took place inside and outside the Luciani residence with Tony (most of the times) behind and Elia in front of the camera.
The initial objective of these sessions: to rekindle Elia’s inner spark. “I noticed how alive she felt by participating”, says Tony, “her youthfulness and eccentricity started to show through”. But there is more to it: to engage an aging parent with dementia in meaningful activities and encourage her to try new things stirs memories, promotes self-expression, and fosters emotional connections.
The artistic output of this unique partnership is a compelling photo essay that captures the essence of fleeting significance in Elia’s story of life. MAMMA: In the Meantime, expresses moments of both human frailty and exuberance, exasperation and resolve. Filled with drama, whimsy, humour, fears, hopes and dreams, the stark, predominately black and white images allow the viewer to reconsider rigid notions of aging.
The project also gave both a new sense of meaning in their lives. As Tony commented: “Life is not about waiting to die. It’s about wanting to live.”
The artist wishes to thank the Ontario Arts Council for their support through the Exhibition Assistance Program.
Tony Luciani is an established artist and the recipient of national and international awards. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited worldwide and can be found in private and public collections. Luciani is represented by the Loch Gallery (Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary). His fine art photography can be found at www.ynotphoto.com