Vancouver Museum of Anthropology UBC

Vancouver Museum of Anthropology UBC
Another mask...

Monday, 13 September 2010

A lesson in the dharma...

Wonderfully sunny & bright day - had a better night with those squidgy orange ear-plugs - no we can't change rooms because all the others are booked out solid! I did think of sorting that out; anyway the traffic noise I'm getting used to. Just beginning to think I ought to start thinking about what I'm doing here. While Mary & Amy went charging off up the road with instructions to wait for me at the subway I called the Bay Crest Care Facility and spoke with Amy the Music Therapist there. We have never met or communicated before and she was very warm and friendly - so meeting fixed for noon tomorrow to meet up with her and get a feel for what they do. Good...starting to feel better, jet-lag going and much less tired. Off to find breakfast at the 'Over Easy' on Bloor right next to the Inter-Continental. The best ever tucker it was, and on queue Amy delights in telling me my pancakes are crap, (or words to that effect) and these chocolate-chip pancakes are the best ever. Dad feels great -again!!

Seriously though, after the humungous feast that lasted me all day, we just had to visit the Royal Ontario Museum ( just across the road) where the Terracotta Army Exhibition is currently on. If Sonny, the Asst Director in the gift shop, ever casts his eyes on this blog then great, he deserves all the praise. As a spontaneous gesture of kindness (that he put down to what his dad taught him I later discovered !) he offered, as a member of the museum, to gift us all free-entry which would otherwise have been a considerable sum for us. So, this is a plug and a thank you for Sonny (I hope I'm spelling his name right). Not only that, and to add to this co-incidence, or act of synchronicity (if like me you have an interest in Jungian thought) I later that morning wandered into a room with a challenging photographic exhibition about older people, which without Sonny's gift I would not have seen.

The exhibition was called: 'House Calls - my experience with my camera' by Dr Mark Nowaczynski PhD & MD. This medically trained doctor runs an organisation called 'House-calls' and treats people as well as photographs them.  I quote from his blurb: 'In 1998 I began to photograph my house-bound patients in order to document this profound social issue, Increasing awareness is a critical step on the road to solutions and photography provides a powerful tool for advocacy'. The pictures/prints were done using large-scale format of older people in Toronto with a wide variety of social, economic and mental-health problems including dementia. The overwhelming effect on me was one of shock. Here were the faces of people I might see on a hospital ward at home, there was no pretence, no ego, no need to tell it any other way than it is. The images were shocking and there was something moving about them too. The danger in my mind is that these images may turn people away because of the pain expressed in and through them about growing older; there was no comments book to look in to see what visitors had written about the exhibiton. This link ( may take you to the site to see for yourself if the pics can be viewed on-line - I don't know for sure. The academic & clinician side of me now kicks in and reminds me that medics tend to focus on identifying problems and incapacities first, and may risk losing sight of those moments and times (when the projection the medic carries from the patient) when the problems are overcome ( if only for a short time).

This is a long blog I any reader who has got this far...well done you...goodnight...and a special thank you to Sonny for bringing us good dharma today!


  1. Keep up with the blogging, it's very insightful.

  2. What does a Magnetoencephalography m/c!! do??
    And how does it do it?