Forget Me Not 勿忘我

Words and images by Anne Moffat

By July 14, 2021The Collective

My grandmother was a dragon. A token of authority, dignity, honour and success, those born into the year of the dragon are considered highly lucky. At 90 years of age she was mother to eight, grandmother to eighteen, great-grandmother to ten and counting—and a sufferer of late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease.

Forget Me Not 勿忘我 (2015-2019) portrays my experience over multiple trips to visit my maternal grandmother, Kong Fung Tsze, in Sandakan, Malaysia—a process of trying to understand more of who I am and who she is, while watching her lose her independence and sense of self.

When my grandmother first started forgetting, my mother crafted her a number of small “life story” notebooks lovingly filled with images and handwritten memories of their lives together. Ironically and brutally, the more you read your life story, the further along the path of dementia you are, and the less you recognise it as your own. These pages are memorialised and work in dialogue with my own images, providing context to my grandmother’s once full and vibrant life.

Although it’s impossible to fully comprehend what people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease experience, this is my visual interpretation of the disorientating, challenging and repetitive nature of the condition, and the feelings that arise from watching the slow decline of a life of someone you cherish.

In loving memory of my grandmother Kong Fung Tsze (1928-2019).

Anne Moffat

Anne Moffat

Anne Moffat (b. 1991) is a photographer working across an array of editorial, commercial and personal projects currently based in Melbourne, Australia on unceded Wurundjeri land. Anne draws on familial ties to Malaysia, China, and New Zealand, as well as family migration to Australia, to inform her social documentation and portraiture. Anne’s work has recently been awarded Jury’s Choice in the Prix Virginia (2021), as well as shortlisted in the British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Humanity (2020), the Singapore International Photography Festival Portfolio Open Call (2020), and the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize (2019). Anne's most recent project, Forget Me Not 勿忘我 is currently exhibiting at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne until 27 June 2021. Her images have been shown around Australia, internationally, and even in space (as part of a world first major exhibition over 111,000 feet into the stratosphere). Anne complements her practice with a Bachelor of Science and Diploma of Languages from The University of Melbourne, and is a member of Women Photograph, Diversify Photo and Authority Collective.