Stories behind the paintbrush


October 25, 2017

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Talented artists who participate in programs run by Uniting Wesley and Uniting Harrison have been selected to exhibit their works at the State Trustees Connected Art Exhibition at Federation Square from Monday 23 October.

Art can tell a powerful story, especially for people with disability or mental illness who might find it hard to communicate in conventional ways.

The Annual State Trustees Connected Art Exhibition showcases the creative expression of artists with disability or living with mental illness. It was established in 2003, borne from a passion for recognising and celebrating artists with a physical or mental disability in Victoria.

Four artists from Uniting Harrison’s Gifford Arts Program are among them. The Gifford Arts Program has been running every Monday for more 11 years in the suburb of Croydon North and is open to everyone, regardless of age or ability. Uniting Harrison Community Engagement Office, Jane Davron, describes it as providing a warm and welcoming art space.

“Our youngest artist is in their 30s while our oldest is in their 80s, which highlights that the art space provided is as much about the conversations taking place and sense of social inclusion as it is about the art,” she said.

“Participants describe our art class as the highlight of their week, and we’re delighted some of them have been selected for this exhibition.”

Andrew Condon lives at one of Uniting Wesley’s residential support services in Burwood and while having only recently discovered his passion and talent for painting, has had his artwork entitled Once bitten, twice shy selected for this year’s exhibition also.

Andrew Condon - Once bitten twice shyAndrew started painting in an MS Society day support program and after having his piece selected for the state exhibition, says he is excited to see it in public. Of the process, Andrew said: “painting in the group was relaxing and fun, I enjoyed chatting with the other artists and doing something different.

“I’m actually colourblind, but in my childhood, I used to draw race cars with Derwent pencils. They name each pencil according to its shade so I guess I learnt to understand colour that way.”

With another painting of two cars already underway, and plenty of ideas for other paintings, Andrew plans to continue learning about art. While the MS Society day support program has finished, Wesley Neurological Support Services House Coordinator, Jonathan Williams, is currently looking at other local art classes that Andrew can attend.



Artists featured in Connected exhibition

Domenico – Uniting Harrison

Hugh Berry – Uniting Harrison

Joanne Robotham – Uniting Harrison

Judy Yeaman – Uniting Harrison

Andrew Condon – Uniting Wesley

Exhibition details (free event)

Monday 23 October 2017 – Friday 3 November 2017

10:00am – 6:00pm daily

No Vacancy Gallery & The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne

An online gallery will feature the artworks displayed at the exhibition and can be viewed online here from 10am, Monday 23 October 2017

Celebration Event

The first, second, third and OPA prize will be announced at the Celebration Event. The winner of the Allan Merigan People’s Choice Award will be announced Thursday 9 November 2017.

Tuesday 31 October 2017

12:30 pm – 2:00pm

Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne

Free event, please reserve tickets here.

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