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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Colourful mural a welcome distraction

A new mural at a Cameron Park aged care facility has coloured the residents’ world.

Former signwriter and TAFE art teacher of 18 years, Allan Baxter, painted a picture of a parrot and toucan nestled amongst flowers and ferns to help disguise a door separating two wards, where dementia patients often congregate, at Opal Macquarie Place.

The retired Speers Point man was visiting his friend, Michael Costello, in the dementia ward one day when he struck up a conversation with one of the nurses, who suggested a mural could help pleasantly distract residents.

He jumped at the chance to dust off his painting skills, whilst also spending quality time with Michael, with whom he used to play in an acoustic band called Alive ‘n’ Kickin alongside other men over 60 who had all survived cancer or heart surgery.

“[Michael] doesn’t know me anymore, but the important thing is, I know him,” Allan said.
“While I was there, he got to know me as the new Allan – the mural painter – and that’s one of the reasons I did it.”

Each Thursday, over the course of three-and-a-half weeks, Allan set up camp to paint the mural, which took 20 hours to complete.

Inspirations Paint Warners Bay donated the materials, while Allan worked free of charge.

“I feel great [about the project] because I’ve been going to aged care homes and playing music but this was totally different to what I’d been doing,” he said.
“I felt like I’d contributed in a whole new way.”

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