This artist designs cabinets for people with Alzheimer’s disease

Published July 14, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Verlyn Anne B. Kim’s works received good feedback from ADI 2020 panelists

Art and design are two different things. Art refers to creative expression while design is about planning to make something functional. 

For artist Verlyn Anne B. Kim, she combines these two disciplines to create something both useful and artistic for benefit of people battling Alzheimer’s disease—an illness that robs people, especially the elderly, of their memories. 

MULTIFACETED ARTIST Verlyn Anne B. Kim is working as designer, but her love for painting and sculpture inspired her to create multifunctional arts in benefits of people with dementia

The birth of Aparador de Recuerdos

When translated in English, Aparador de Recuerdos means Cabinet of Memories. This multifunctional art that combines wood carving and design is the product of Verlyn’s master’s degree thesis. 

She created three hand-carved cabinet designs, each representing a part of Philippine culture such as an eagle, the Mayon volcano, and one of PH’s traditional dances, Singkil. They also come with pull-out chairs and retractable tables for added support for the elderly.

“It started as a thesis proposal for final requirements in master’s degree, with the help of my mentor Noli Vicedo, MFA,” she says in an exclusive interview with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “The objective is to provide an interactive element that may help to trigger brain function of elderly who are experiencing cognitive decline and to showcase different Philippine cultural heritage sites and icons in one art piece.” 

As an artist, Verlyn knows the importance of memories for every individual and she wants to do something to help people preserve theirs. “My heart goes to the elderly who are experiencing decline and loss of memoryEach of us have a lot of memories—memories that makes a person a human being that lived a meaningful life,” she says. “I decided to use unconventional application of the relief sculpture from the concept of element in puzzle solving activities to encourage ‘memory brain function’ and mental activity, and to supplement the visual art with video and sound media to represent the ‘memories of the user.’ By doing this, the cabinets might be able to help to contribute in encouraging brain function among the elderly, especially, those who are experiencing cognitive decline, a silent issue among Filipino families that is currently happening.”

Aparador de Recuerdos de Sitios

Recognition from ADI 

And Verlyn’s pure intention as an artist receives good feedback from the panelists of Alzheimer’s disease international (ADI) 2020, where she was given an opportunity to showcase her works. 

“I am very honored and at the same time surprised that my study has been recognized for an international convention. I am very grateful that I can share this idea to the world and give awareness on about how art and design can contribute to the world of Dementia, and how it can help to uplift well-being of the elderly,” she says. “With this kind of exposure, I hope that I was able to add value to the community of artists and designers who are also putting purpose into their works of art and also to the medical field.” 

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION Verlyn’s works were featured as the ADI 2020 conference held in Singapore

With three designs at hand, she hopes that someday she can produce more in benefit of more individuals. “Right now, the cabinets are being used by my parents at home, and I’m planning to donate one to an elderly home once the pandemic ends,” Verlyn shares. “The cabinets are not for sale but I am planning to improve design efficiency and be able create more in the future and probably donate to elderly homes, whose tenants are those diagnosed with cognitive decline.” 

Veralyn leaves this as a message for other artist. “Always seek your purpose whenever you create or design something, inspiration is everywhere, you just need to know your strengths and skills for you to create something that is unique,” she says. “Also, always look back to where you come from, be humble, love and respect the elderly, as they have imparted us life lessons that [have] contributed to where we are right now.” 

 
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