Zel Caddey was born 1926 in Braidwood, trained as a nurse with WAAF during the war, then toured Australia extensively and after returning to Tathra she married Joe Caddey and embraced motherhood, continuing work as a nurse and as a prominent member of Tathra Surf Life Saving Club she became a tireless fundraiser for numerous charities and local groups. In her 60’s Zel embraced art and drawing, inspired by her twin daughters who were art teachers. She completed many art TAFE courses and exhibited in local drawing group exhibitions.
After her husband Joe’s death, and her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2011, Zel left Tathra, her home of 56 years and moved to Newcastle and Fronditha Aged Care in Mayfield. She has embraced this huge change in her life with typical enthusiasm, and is a much loved member of the small aged care community, where she has rediscovered her creativity.
Working from a sunlit studio space just outside her room, Zel has been literally bitten by the art bug! During the progress of Alzheimer’s she remains a committed artist, and very determined to create images every day. Zel has developed a distinct style which is narrative, colourful, instinctive and joyful. She takes huge risks with her artistic practice, is strongly focussed, and has an instinctive drawing skill that flows directly from her mind to her hand.
Having lost her ability to communicate verbally, she now shows us how her life is still full of joy and can be celebrated through her artwork. Zel creates artworks relating to her world of friends, places, family, memories and smiling faces.