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Through her submission, Imaginarium finalist Gina Figueira explores dementia and the fragility of memory. Read more about the meaning behind her work and how she uses her personal experiences to inform her process.


For artist Gina Figueira, decorative plates will always be associated with her grandmother. A few years ago, Gina’s gran was diagnosed with dementia and since then, the artist has watched the woman she once knew begin to disappear along with her memory.

The Fragility of Memory

The Fragility of Memory

Through her submission, ‘Plates of Remembering and Forgetting’, Gina deals with memory and nostaligia. Using a concrete and fiberglass tissue mix, Gina cast a series of decorative plates, reminiscent of the ones that hang in her grandmother’s home. However, rather than using a ceramic plate as a mould, Gina opted to cast her concrete pieces using paper plates – items which are impermanent, flimsy and disposable.

Confronting Misconceptions

Although the final concrete plates are a bit thicker than the paper plates they were moulded from, they are still enormously fragile, contrasting to the common perception of concrete as a robust and reliable material. Gina believes that the act of casting paper plates in concrete is futile as they will surely break. In her words, the process “echoes any ultimately ineffectual and misguided attempts to restore memory”.

Her Process

Her Process

The plates have been engraved with a design based on a ring that Gina’s grandmother gave her when she was still completely independent. The pleasing symmetrical designs have been distorted by oily stains (a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar), and thus stripped of their intended beauty, rendering them meaningless.

Overall, Gina hopes that the plates will make the audience reflect on the fleeting and fragile nature of memory, and how we rely on it to relate to one another.
Feeling Inspired?

Do you like to explore the human condition through your art? Enter the 2015 PPC Imaginarium today and share your creative vision with us.

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