Speaking out for people with mental health issues in NSW

Yesterday I enjoyed a unique experience. A lunch at Parliament House in Macquarie Street, Sydney, with my very good friend and fellow artist Denise Kassis. Why Parliament House? Because this is where BEING the independent state-wide peak organisation for people with mental distress hosted an event to showcase and celebrate the artistic expression of artists across NSW with varied experiences and backgrounds.

This exhibition shows the positive role art has in the mental health recovery for people who have created art as part of their therapy.

Denise Kassis’s beautiful artwork titled City Scape. More of Denise’s artwork as well as local Shire Artists works can be found in Denise’s gallery Art on Burraneer, Caringbah. Her contact details are 0420 740 552 . Denise also holds workshops in encaustic art and mixed media.

Denise has first hand experience in how her art has helped her over the years after suffering anxiety and depression after the birth of her son in 1997. She was diagnosed with Severe bipolar 1 disorder and was hospitalised a number of times. Denise shared her story through her art at this exhibition and how it has helped her to her own recovery and by sharing to let others know they are not alone.

The exhibition showcases the artists, their paintings and gives an insight into the individual journeys experienced by these artists. It also promotes the diversity and skills of these artists. And even more importantly it gives an opportunity for the family, friends and the community to learn and understand more about mental health and the wider ranging issues connected with this. By understanding more we as a community can give support when appropriate. This is important not only in understanding but that due to unforseen circumstances we in the wider community could find ourselves in a similar situation.

The journeys portrayed in this exhibition give a voice to the people who at times couldn’t express themselves verbally but found they could communicate through their own unique ways through their art.

The exhibition started with a welcome from the CEO of Being Irene Gallagher.

Then with a very warm welcome to country by Uncle Allen Madden of the Gadigal people as respect to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land.

And the official opening was by the Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Women, and Minister for Aging, Tanya Davies.

After speeches from two of the artists the closing address was made by the Being Operations Manager David Peters.

Here are some of the art works, and I encourage everybody who is able to attend the exhibition as it is well worth while seeing and gives a real insight of the artists and their works with information next to each painting.



The day ended and  the exhibition gave me in particular, a clearer insight into mental health and how art has been able to provide not only a very important therapy to reduce symptoms of stress but to give vulnerable people time out from their problems and to express their feelings by creating their own unique works



Outside Parliament House and a rub of Il PorIl Porcellino, meaning ‘the little pig’, is a larger than life-sized bronze wild boar

Il Porcellino, meaning ‘the little pig’, is a larger than life-sized bronze wild boar. It is located outside the Sydney’s oldest hospital, Sydney Hospital, facing Macquarie Street. The sculpture is an exact replica of an original by Pietro Tacca which has stood in Florence, Italy, since circa 1633.

The monument in Florence is believed to bring good luck if visitors put a coin into the boar’s gaping jaws, with the intent to let it fall through the underlying grating, and they rub the boar’s snout to ensure a return to Florence. Money collected from the monument was used to fund a hospital in Florence. In Sydney, as in Florence, donations go to assist the work of the hospital.

The exhibition is on until the 27th September.

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