Care Home residents recreate Old Master portraits for 2022 calendar

Residents of MHA Brookfield care home in Oxford have transformed themselves into iconic paintings using only everyday items. The 14 residents posed for the photographic portraits as part of the care home’s second annual calendar.

MHA Brookfield provides vital nursing and nursing dementia care for 66 residents. Victoria Davidson, the care home’s activity coordinator, explained “we used a lot of our own equipment at the homes to make props and costumes and it was something we all really enjoyed… those who volunteered to be a part of the calendar were very excited and could not wait to see what the pictures looked like.”

Resident Amina dressed up as the iconic ‘Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird’, painted by Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) in 1940. Amina’s piercing stare closely echoes the Mexican artist, but instead of the real animals that accompany Kahlo in the painting, the care home resident has cheekily placed stuffed animals on each shoulder.

Andrew, who has been living at the home for more than 18 months, said “I really liked the style of my picture, it was good fun!”. He convincingly posed as one of Jan Van Eyck’s (c. 1390-1441) most famous paintings. In what is believed to be a self-portrait, the work shows a man emerging from a dark background wearing a fur-lined coat and red chaperon – a typical fifteenth-century hat. “A tablecloth and some fur was used for my costume and I really enjoyed being a part of this for the second time,” added Andrew.

Other renowned portraits mimicked by the care home included ‘The Virgin in Prayer’ (1640-1650) by Sassoferrato (1609-1685), ‘Mary Seacole’ (1869) by Albert Charles Challen (1847-1881), and ‘Whistler’s Mother’ (1871) by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903).

The pictures were taken and edited by Rebecca Phillipson, one of the home’s volunteers. During an interview with BBC radio, Davidson remarked that the photographs have all been put “up on the wall in the foyer as you come in, blown them up, and made them nice and big so everybody can see them.

The calendars are on sale for £12 and can be purchased from the reception at the care home.

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