Survivor’s photographic display evokes Pieces of the Self journey

Ballarat child abuse survivor and advocate Peter Blenkiron is somewhat detached about the opening of his personally documented exhibition in Melbourne.

The exhibition, Putting The Pieces Of The Self Together One Moment At A Time, features Peter’s photography but Mr Blenkiron says all the tribute belongs to curator and advocate, Vanessa Beetham.

Abuse survivor Peter Blenkiron is taking a step back to refocus and to spend time with his family.

Abuse survivor Peter Blenkiron is taking a step back to refocus and to spend time with his family.

“She’s the driving force behind it all, she has been phenomenal,” he said, describing how Vanessa has worked on the exhibition from California, where she lives.

Mr Blenkiron, who describes himself as “just the photographer”, says he is now prioritising his family and working on his recovery from the childhood abuse inflicted by a St Patrick’s College Christian Brother.

REFLECTION: One of the images from the 'Putting the pieces of the self back together one moment at a time' exhibition.

REFLECTION: One of the images from the 'Putting the pieces of the self back together one moment at a time' exhibition.

A special event was held on Friday at the Dax Centre, attended by Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley and author advocate, Dr Judy Courtin to raise money for adult survivors of childhood trauma. Proceeds will go to the Blue Knot Foundation – National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, and The Dax Centre, which both work to increase understanding of mental illness and psychological trauma.

Supported by Creative Victoria, the exhibition at the The Dax Centre, Kenneth Myer Building, 30 Royal Parade, Parkville, also features artwork by Doug Moran and Archibald Prize finalist, Daniel Butterworth. It is open Mon to Sat: 11am - 5pm and Sunday: 12pm - 4pm and runs until 21 July.

A former electrician, Mr Blenkiron has been a tireless advocate for Ballarat’s child abuse survivors. 

He documented his personal journey on a smartphone, and this photographic diary is said to offer “rare insight into the inner world of a child abuse survivor as he slowly learns to re-inhabit his body and mind.” 

The exhibition includes video recorded in Rome that features Mr Blenkiron’s personal reflections to the Royal Commission hearings in March 2016 and a short film by filmmaker Andrew Sully, about the exhibition.