The Picture Show: NPR


Mom in Mexico City a year before her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She was already showing symptoms – misplacing things, withdrawing from social activities, changes in her mood, and increased memory loss.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


Mom in Mexico City a year before her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She was already showing symptoms – misplacing things, withdrawing from social activities, changes in her mood, and increased memory loss.

Alice Vera

There is a term – unexplained loss – that is used to describe the impossible-to-describe state of loss of someone who lives here physically but cannot be mentally or emotionally present. When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018, her diagnosis left me devastated, worried and disappointed. How to deal with my mother’s gradual erosion while she lives here with us?

“Va a lover toda la noche,” which translates to “it’s going to rain all night,” is my desperate attempt to deal with his forecast. In this work, I bridge his past, which I only know through his saying (and which disappears more every day as his illness progresses); Our present, which is equally deeply affected; And our future together, the contours of which keep changing with each passing day. This project is my attempt to create a dialogue about unexplained loss, processing my grief, and defining my relationship with my mother in a way that attempts to understand her illness.

Mother, as a child, poses for a portrait in Mexico City.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


Mother, as a child, poses for a portrait in Mexico City.

Alice Vera


Mom and her orchids in Miami.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


Mom and her orchids in Miami.

Alice Vera

Alzheimer’s disease is primarily characterized by memory loss and a decline in cognitive function. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and Latinx are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than non-Latinx white people. The National Institutes of Health estimates that Latinx with Alzheimer’s disease will increase nine-fold by 2060, affecting 3.5 million people.

As my mother’s illness progressed, I started receiving messages from my family that were concerned about her condition.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


As my mother’s illness progressed, I started receiving messages from my family that were concerned about her condition.

Alice Vera


A glimpse of my mother’s youth in Mexico.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


A glimpse of my mother’s youth in Mexico.

Alice Vera

In “Va A Lover Toda La Noche,” I weave images from my mother’s current collection, my personal collection, and messages from my family to explore the present and future that her illness has robbed us of. Using brain scans of Alzheimer’s patients as a jumping-off point, I interject on these images that mimic my interpretation of what the disease does to my mother’s memories. This work engages with the challenging feelings of grieving a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease through the unique lens of our mother-daughter relationship, with the goal of connecting their struggles of loss and grief with the wider community of those affected.


Mother poses for a portrait at a party.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


Mother poses for a portrait at a party.

Alice Vera


A text from my brother.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


A text from my brother.

Alice Vera


Mother poses for a portrait in Miami.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


Mother poses for a portrait in Miami.

Alice Vera


My mother’s email, dated 2009-2013. One of the first signs of dementia is a loss of cognitive function that can cause seniors to struggle with technology use. These days, she has forgotten how to use a computer, and her cell phone causes her anxiety.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


My mother’s email, dated 2009-2013. One of the first signs of dementia is a loss of cognitive function that can cause seniors to struggle with technology use. These days, she has forgotten how to use a computer, and her cell phone causes her anxiety.

Alice Vera


Mother surrounded by flowers, poses for a portrait in Mexico.

Alice Vera


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Alice Vera


Mother surrounded by flowers, poses for a portrait in Mexico.

Alice Vera

See more of Alicia Vera’s work on her website, AliciaVera.comand her Instagram profile, @aliciavera,

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