Intensive Care: Personal Support Artists


Brenda Joy Lem
Charmaine Lurch
Gareth Bate
Louise Liliefeldt
Karen Miranda Augustine

August 4 – 31, 2023

Whippersnapper Gallery
594B Dundas Street West, Toronto

What does caregiving look like?

From hospital stays to home life, intergenerational connections to PSW work, six one-minute videos reflect on the lived experiences of artists who care and the loved ones they look after. Running continuously on loop, these silent shorts will be on view 24/7. Passersby are encouraged to share their own personal reflections on cards installed by the gallery window.

Video stills: Karen Miranda Augustine, On the Pill; Brenda Joy Lem, Witness; docuvixen, Wake, Walk, Ride, Lift, Wash, Rinse, Ride, Sleep and Repeat. PSW Life; Gareth Bate, Small and Big Things; Charmaine Lurch, Reach out and touch; Louise Liliefeldt, Walk

Video descriptions

On the Pill by Karen Miranda Augustine: Administering medication to a loved one is a methodical, everyday balancing act of managing doses, time, drug-drug interactions, and potential contraindications.

Witness by Brenda Joy Lem: When I accompanied my mother for extended hospital stays, I often saw patients of colour or from lower classes receive a different quality of care.

Wake, Walk, Ride, Lift, Wash, Rinse, Ride, Sleep and Repeat. PSW Life by docuvixen: Daily caregiving tasks are repetitive and monotonous. These tasks are often invisible and unrecognized, but they get done by caregivers across the city every day.

Small and Big Things by Gareth Bate: A day in the life of a caregiver, told through my engagement with household objects to show the banality of repetitive daily chores and the beautiful moments.

Reach out and touch by Charmaine Lurch: Out(standing) in lavender fields we inhale. Listen to bees, reach and stretch a moment of joy.

Walk by Louise Liliefeldt: For someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, going for a walk alone can be troubling for their caregiver and loved ones: Where have they gone? Do they know where they are?

Video still: Brenda Joy Lem, Witness


ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM is a collective of Toronto artists who are / were caregivers to family members, partners, and the community at large. They create experiential, collaborative works to bring visibility to the labour of caregiving. Founded in 2022, the collective is comprised of visual, media, and performance artists: Brenda Joy Lem, Charmaine Lurch, docuvixen, Gareth Bate, Louise Liliefeldt, and Karen Miranda Augustine.

Toronto, Ontario

The collective would like to thank Whippersnapper Gallery, 1RG, Hospice Toronto, and Mayworks Festival for their enthusiastic support for this project.