Fashion performance helps Hobart artist process the grief of losing her mother to dementia

Hobart artist Sonia Heap’s work has always been about fashion as a form of expressing identity, but her newest collection, On Memory, uses couture clothing to explore how dementia can see our identity unravel.

The work, performed at Hobart’s Moonah Art Centre, is a response to the grief experienced by Heap as she watched her mother’s memories slip away.

“Our identity is formed from our memories, from things that happened yesterday, to last year, to years ago – we are a collection of threads,” she said.

Heap says dementia takes away those threads, which is why it is so frightening.

A Hobart fashion show is raising awareness for Dementia Australia

The performance focuses on the senses, using textiles, music, lighting and lots of flowers

Sonia Heap sought a positive way to manage the dementia journey for carers and future sufferers

High profile clients

Heap is known for her hand-made, highly detailed work, and her clients include the likes of Kirsha Kaechele, the artist and wife of Mona museum’s David Walsh, whose wedding dress she designed using Finnish reindeer suede and hand-polished Japanese and Czech beads.

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