Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is life-changing news that nobody wants to receive, but it’s not all bad. By sharing the personal stories of people living with the disease It’s Not Funny reveals a positive aspect to this diagnosis. Being positive can open doors to a new aspect of life. Perhaps you reinvent yourself, perhaps you go and do those things you have always put off, perhaps you contribute to research, or you connect with others in the community to share your positivity and help them to live well too.
Art Installation & panel discussion – Garvan Institute of Medical Research
LET’S TALK ABOUT BEING POSITIVE LIVING WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE
Bernie doesn’t just shake! was a 5 day exhibition about people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) that have re-invented themselves and as a result are benefiting from their positive attitude.
The Panel of speakers
Dr Paul Clouston
Dr Paul Clouston is a Neurologist specialising in Parkinson’s disease who iconically became a patient of the very disease he was treating. As if by default he has become an invaluable member of the PD team at the Brain & Mind Research Institute, NSW Movement Disorders Brain Donor program.
John McDonald is art critic for the Sydney Morning Herald. He has written for many Australian and international publications, worked as an editor and publisher; and lectured at colleges and galleries around the country. He was Head of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia from 1999-2000. From 2002-04 he was director of Newcontemporaries, a non-commercial gallery in Sydney.
A/Prof Antony Cooper
A/Prof Antony Cooper is a senior research scientist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia. He is also a conjoint associate professor at the University of New South Wales where he is head of a neurodegeneration laboratory focusing on Parkinson’s Disease.
Without question, being diagnosed with an incurable disease is devastating. It’s life changing and mercilessly confronting, but it does trigger deep resources that lie within. It dawned upon Gary to live with the disease will be like acting out a part in a play. Each challenge would require a script and a performance. The curtain is well and truly raised.
Before getting Parkinson’s Disease, Bernie was a successful commercial agent and he was good, very good. Parkinson’s hindered him from doing many things. He was in a bad way until he decided to have Deep Brain Stimulation. Now he paints and exhibits his paintings and is gaining credibility as a serious artist. He attributes Deep Brain Stimulation to kick starting his newfound talent.
You’ll be hard pressed finding another person with such a positive outlook as Clyde. The really great thing when talking with him is that no matter how bad your day might be you end up feeling good as well. He’s not just positive, mix humble and a quiet Aussie achiever with clever and you start to get the picture.
Bernie Dashboard Wobbly Doll
We had an idea to produce something that was both fun and reminded people living with Parkinson’s Disease as well as their loved ones to be positive. So when we brainstormed ideas about an object that people could purchase we came up with the dashboard doll.
Bernie the model
One of the people living with Parkinson’s and has completely re-invented himself is Bernie. He is an inspiration to many others, becoming a passionate artist after closing down his real estate business when he was diagnosed with the disease. Bernie also loves music and has a good sense of humour. We told him about our plan to create wobbly dashboard dolls and he just loved it. He offered to be the model and that’s how our Bernie dashboard doll was born!
The 3D Scannning
We were fortunate to meet Shane Rolton, from Wysiwyg 3D, who are experts in 3D scanning, printing and digitisation. Shane listened with interest to our idea, and then he shared with us that his grandfather had Parkinson’s. He saw an opportunity to use Wysiwyg’s expertise to contribute to a good cause. It took only about 10 minutes with a portable 3D scanner to scan Bernie. It was fascinating to see how quickly the 3D model appeared on the computer screen and Bernie had fun looking at his digital ‘minime’.
3D Printing of the prototype
Wysiwyg printed a few smaller versions and we worked together to modify the figure with a little spring so that it would ‘wobble’ when moving it. It was fun driving around the block to test if the figure wobbled on the car dashboard. Our final version is now in production, and can be purchased by going to this link:
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is one of Australia’s leading biomedical research institutes, pioneering study into the most widespread diseases affecting our community today, including cancer, neurodegenerative and mental diseases, disorders of the immune system, diabetes and obesity, osteoporosis and other skeletal disorders.
A special thanks to all who helped…
So what’s next for “It’s Not Funny’?
About Bernie’s Paintings
“My work is spontaneous, instinctive and organic.
It grows with every splash or drop of paint.
The thoughts that inspire initially often change as the work progresses.
The application can be by great big bold strokes to small intimate marks.
Every painting comprises a series of layers with each layer creating
greater depth and texture.
I am always looking for different methods of application from using
traditional instruments such as brushes and palette knives to water pistols and even the garden hose.”
About It’s Not Funny
It’s Not Funny is a community action that gives people living with Parkinson’s disease a voice to share something positive. Through photography, words, film and humour we hope to kick start a wave of positivity in the community. In so doing, we hope to create a destination for people with PD and as well as the general public, to come together and to feel more at ease with the disease.
Our focus is to raise awareness for the disease, and this event at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research is one of many campaigns that It’s Not Funny initiates. Please support our efforts by buying a Bernie Wobbly Doll or ordering a book or simply just give a donation.