Gliding past a sea of white partitions in the Torrens Parade Ground is Audrey Elliot, a brightly-coloured 103-year-old Parkside resident with a sparkle in her eye.
She's impossible to miss with her bright purple hair, a red and pink flower crown, light pink blanket, and purple nail polish.
It's indeed a time to put on her best dress; June 25 was the exhibition launch day of SA's version of The Centenarian Portrait Project by Teenagers. The project, initiated by arts initiative Embraced, saw 100 teenagers meet 100 people aged 100, in a bid to minimise negative stigma in ageing by breaking down stereotypes and sharing stories.
The teenagers who participate in the project visit their subjects, take pictures, and develop an approach to making the portrait. Meanwhile, they share stories and some develop friendships. After the exhibition, the centenarians get to take the artworks home.
This project has been rolled out in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, while recruitment for a West Australia version is happening at the moment. There will be a national exhibition in Canberra in May and June, 2023.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data for 2021, there were 549 people aged 100 or over living in South Australia, and 5300 across the country.
Audrey is matter of fact with her hair colour choice on the day.
"I like the look of it," she said.
Audrey told The Senior she used to ride a horse named Getaway to school.
She told her artist, teenager Joel Condo, that the secret to a long life is to love yourself and love who you are.
Joel captured her colour in his acrylic on canvas artwork of her - it too is a sea of pinks, purples and warm shades of grey and blue, with a yellow background.
In his artist notes, Joel wrote: "Coming from humble beginnings and a tough childhood, Audrey has grown to live through two word wars, the Spanish flu, the depression and many more historical eras that shaped today's society".
"Audrey has a sparkle in her eyes that radiates love, acceptance and kindness. Learning of the love she and her husband shared, showed that true love doesn't just belong in the movies, but rather is a human experience, that can still bring joy even through times of grief."
In getting to know Audrey, he also got to know her daughter Shirley.
"On my third visit when speaking to Shirley and Audrey about Audrey's love for the colour purple, I commented on how pretty her purple nails were. She explained that Audrey always had her nails painted and wore rings and bracelets on a particular hand. That way, if she raises a glass to drink, her hand would look gorgeous and presentable," he wrote.
"Through this, Audrey managed to teach me a lesson in self-love/self-care. Audrey valued her worth, and that allowed her to give as much love as she has in her 103 years."
Joan Sharp Virtucio, of West Beach, turns 102 this August. She met her artist, Anna Devlin, a Year 11 student at Henley High School, at the end of March this year.
Meeting had been difficult because of COVID restrictions, but they did manage to work together. They discussed Joan's career in nursing, her love for reading and gardening, playing bridge and board games with her friends, and watching sport.
In her artist notes, Anna described Joan as incredibly positive, bright and kind.
"Joan is a family-oriented person, who loved spending Christmas with her family and was very close to her brother and sister. She has been a very involved member of the community, valuing friendship and radiating positivity."
Joan was born in Balaklava and lived on a farm at Everard Central, which had a one-teacher school. When her older brother Ken was old enough to go to high school, their mother didn't want him to board, so the family relocated to North Adelaide to their grandfathers' house and Ken went to Christian Brothers College, and she and her sister went to St Mary's in Stanley street.
Joan told The Senior about how she entered the nursing profession.
"When the Second World War started, I started to do nursing, so I went to Calvary hospital to train as a nurse and I was there for four years of training, then went to Melbourne for a year, then came back and met some girls from the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and ended up finishing there. I worked in the transfusion service which became the Blood bank - I stayed there for the rest of my working career," she said.
Joan did continue to work for some time after nursing; a friend of hers mentioned they were looking for a matron at Cabra Dominican College to look after the boarding students, so she took that on for about three years.
Joan had also been recognised in Commonwealth and Premier awards.
As for what contributes to a long life, she says "You have to decide for yourself and make your own decisions".
Beatrice Wilson of Vale Park turned 100 in July. Her artist was Jasmine Meldrum, 18, who was a year 12 student at Immanuel College in 2021, and they met on Tuesdays.
Jasmine said Beatrice has a good sense of humour and is quite witty.
"She's got a bit of grit to her. She talked a bit about how she was orphaned at 16. She lost her mum at eight and dad at 16, and how she had to pull herself back up and learn to be independent from such a young age. And I think that shows in her now because she is so independent."
One of Jasmine's favourite things they did together was spend time in Beatrice's garden, and she loved seeing the colours change from vibrant greens to warm oranges and reds as the seasons changed.
"She's got a feijoa tree in her garden, and I didn't know what they were before this. They're kind of like guavas and I quite like guava, so I enjoyed it. They've got a little bit of an aniseedy texture to it, but they're cool," she said.
"It was wonderful to learn something new and share that experience with her."
The experience helped change Jasmine's attitude towards ageing.
"As women, ageing is looked at very negatively; women aren't really allowed to age and there's this idea of ageing gracefully in women that you're supposed to hold onto being youthful. Being part of this project, it helped me realise that as a woman, I am allowed to age and it's not something that should be considered a bad thing," she said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.