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New photography exhibition at the RD&E challenges perceptions of growing older


alex rotasA new photography exhibition in the corridors of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital challenges its viewers to think differently about ageing. The ‘Growing Old Competitively' exhibition by Alex Rotas features a series of photos of athletes in their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s who still compete in international sporting events.

The exhibition has been organised by Exeter Health Care Arts, an ‘arts for health’ initiative designed to deliver a range of activities to improve the hospital environment, for patients, visitors and for staff. This inspirational exhibition fits into a programme of arts work by the RD&E to support older patients and their families.

Alex’s photos of veteran sportsmen and women seek to challenge perceptions sometimes associated with ageing and getting older, such as decline, passivity and physical and mental deterioration.  The older athletes featured in the exhibition transgress these commonly held attitudes, showing that vigour, passion and drive does not necessarily decline with age – instead they are celebrated for their continuing competitiveness, physicality and strength.

Alex Rotas said: “I’m thrilled to be showing my work at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. I hope they’re a useful and joyful reminder of what’s possible even as we go into our tenth decade and that they encourage patients, visitors and staff alike to smile and to take heart. Getting older doesn’t have to be about becoming stooped and frail, despite those annoying road signs that suggest it does!”

Stephen Pettet-Smith, Head of Exeter HealthCare Arts, added: “When I first saw the pictures I thought of the many conversations I have had with active older people who enjoy life. There has been so much positive feedback from the hospital community on the other arts led initiatives around care for older people - I felt sure we were onto a winner with this exhibition! We were not disappointed; patients, visitors and staff seem to be truly inspired by the photographs.”

The ‘Growing Old Competitively' exhibition can be seen between the Chaplaincy Centre and the Oasis restaurant on level 2 of Wonford hospital site.

Alex Rotas will be signing copies of her book 'Growing Old Competitively' in Waterstones, Exeter High Street, on Monday 23rd February from 12.30 – 2pm. 


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