An exhibition of self-portraits and other art works called “Themselves” at the former Queen Street School highlights the great achievements Ballarat SRS Studios and Arts Access Victoria have made in getting people with mental health issues to express their stories and vision.
Leonie Van Eyk is the SRS studio co-ordinator. She’s worked for 15 years with Arts Access Victoria as an artist, filmmaker, performer, puppeteer and stage manager.
“The Ballarat SRS arts studio has been a group that have come together over a year. That artists have come from four residential units across Ballarat,” says Ms Van Eyk.
“Today is an exhibition of their best works over the year. There are 60 works in frames – we went around to op shops to get the frames. These people are struggling and surviving with mental health issues.”
Ms Van Eyk says that participating in the program has given the artists more confidence in themselves and in their relationships to other people, as well as their art.
“They are confident in their own art, confident in being part of a community group. They've built a camaraderie among each other and formed friendships.”
Troy has worked in charcoal for the exhibition.
“I got a long stick and taped the charcoal to the end. I stood up and drew the outlines, and then coloured it with texta,’ he says.
“It’s been a good program to get into. I’ve done it for a couple of years. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
You can learn more about the Ballarat SRS project by following this link.
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