A clergy abuse survivor who used photography to piece together the fragmented pieces of a life marred by sexual abuse will have his work displayed at Ballarat’s top art gallery.
Peter Blenkiron remains in shock of the success of his exhibition – Putting The Pieces of Self Together One Moment at a Time which will be shown at the Art Gallery off Ballarat from May 13 to June 11.
More than 10 years ago Mr Blenkiron used photography to help him slowly piece together the fragments of his life. Taking on the advice of his counsellor and with his smartphone in hand – he started taking photographs as a form of mindfulness and solace. Humble when speaking of the exhibition’s success Mr Blenkiron says the exhibition, which was previously shown at Boah Organics, was the brainchild of curator Vanessa Beetham.
“I’m in shock of its success – it has been (due to) Vanessa’s vision of what the exhibition can achieve,” Mr Blenkiron said.
“She said to me initially - what were my thoughts on sharing it with other people?
“I said: ‘For what?’ and then I thought perhaps it can help other people struggling with mental health and gives them another strategy that they can use.”
The images offer a rare glimpse into Mr Blenkiron’s mind – he says the pictures often metaphorically mirror his thoughts, feelings and how he sees the world at a particular time. For Mr Blenkiron, photography is merely one strategy he uses to find sense in his world. Ms Beetham’s desire to share the exhibition publicly was born from the realisaiton that Mr Blenkiron’s images could help many suffering in silence.
“Pete’s story is the story of one but it’s always been the story of many. My hope was that it would not only help my childhood friend Peter in his healing process but also other survivors,” Ms Beetham said.
“Together we hoped it would inspire those who’s pain relief leads to self harm to know there are alternative options.
“The exhibition has been successful because the Ballarat community cares and true to its historical roots, it’s leading cultural change. A much more optimistic legacy than being remembered as one of the worst epicentres for child sexual abuse.”