Woman aged 103 exhibits first artwork

Published Monday, 10 February 2014
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A pensioner who is exhibiting her ceramic work at the age of 103 has told UTV she hopes to inspire other older people to take up art.

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    Centenarian artist
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    Interview: Doris McCleery

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Doris McCleery attended the 'RIPE' exhibition at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast on Wednesday, to see her pieces on display.

She is the oldest exhibitor and took up ceramics just six months ago when she moved to live in Kingsway private nursing home in Dunmurry.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Arts Care launched the exhibition of arts by older people as part of the Here and Now arts festival.

"I thoroughly enjoyed this class," Doris told UTV.

"I think it's something that lots of older people could manage to do and get pleasure from it. You can sit down and you really don't need to have any heavy lumps of clay, just small things.

"I'm very happy to be alive in this age, and [for] the chance for ordinary people to have a new sort of door to go through without being a very experienced artist."

Originally from London, Ms McCleery moved to Northern Ireland in 1935, married a local man and spent her working life teaching in Belfast.

Doris said she was interested in art as a child, but "didn't get much of a chance of doing much until I retired, which was quite a few years [ago]."

She was very happy to see all the work on display, especially as it was created by fellow older citizens.

"These are all old people like me and that's what has interested me, and the fact that others saw it perhaps they'd like to have a dabble."

She added: "There's no harm done with a box of paints and a bottle of water!"

Jenny Elliott, Chief Executive of Arts Care, said: "Doris McCleery embodies what the Here and Now Festival is all about. It is about the art of ageing well and people who engage with the world around them and take pleasure in their own creativity. Age is not a barrier.

"We knew instinctively that the right people were out there. Many of our artists have had other careers, in medicine, engineering, journalism, architecture and teaching, for example.

"Their art had to take second place to other responsibilities. Older age and the motivation to follow what they love passionately have meant they are more engaged with the artist within them and the time has come to pursue that interest."

Unfortunately for any interested parties - Doris's two pieces 'small boat' and 'celtic design' are not for sale.

But you can see them in the exhibition which runs until Saturday 15 February at the Crescent Arts Centre.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Bronagh Lawson in Belfast wrote (65 days ago):
Nice to see Doris featured, I have to say as the person who facilitated and selected the exhibition I have to say that there is no Craft in it.It is all Visual art. Bronagh Creativechangeni
Kimberly in Dallas, Texas wrote (65 days ago):
I enjoyed watching the artist's interview but I would have also liked to have seen the artist's creations.
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