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October 2019 - Mental Health Week and Month

On the 9th October 2019 I participated in the Toronto Private Hospital's annual art show to raise awareness for mental health!
In celebration of Mental Health Week, Toronto Private Hospital invited artists to participate in the 2019 art show titled ‘See Me’. The art show was held in the new Toronto Therapies Service Area.
26 works were entered - and walking in there was an amazing experience. The diversity in the works was what stood out most to me, from photography, to three-dimensional sculptural works, to paintings, drawings, and collage. There was a huge amount of colour in the room, and every one told a story about mental health. 
The artists entering the show must have experienced a mental health condition to enter, and in my artwork I chose to portray childhood trauma - these are the mental wounds that I carry and find tough to move on from. There were other artists who talked about trauma through their work, some were exceptionally spiritual, some were minimalistic while some full of colour, shapes and patterns. I really can't give enough words to describe how amazing the collection was!
The art show was judged by Toronto Private Hospital CEO, Jason Thomas, and the Lake Macquarie Art Gallery Curator Deborah Abraham.
 
The judges selected my artwork due to the contrast of the dark colours in the bullets reflecting the traumatic life events and the colour in the self-portrait representing hope and a state of wellness.
"The artist's technique in creating the artwork was also praised in the way it looked like photography." - Jade Goodman, Clinical Psychology Registrar
Toronto Private Hospital
The People’s Choice award was awarded to the Young At Heart Group for their entry “Tree of Life”, beautifully crafted from natural materials. Their piece was gorgeous and stood out from the wall in the third-dimension. It was textural and relaxing to the eye, while carrying a deep message written on the leaves which were fixed to the tree.
When they called out my name all the blood in my head rushed to my feet and I felt faint, however I managed to stand up there and smile (a feeling of excitement but also really nervous!) to accept the beautiful glass trophy that they had arranged for me. It was surreal, this is the first art prize I have won! It was an extremely scary but exhillerating feeling.
What I want people to know, through this experience, is that mental health is something we need to respect and pay attention to. Trauma can be so many other things, and it can be something that other people might not even notice has happened.
I've been through some really difficult times with depression, anxiety and PTSD which all still affect me today. I'm giving it time every day to heal, and there are days when I don't do well at it. We can (and do) all experience hard times in our minds, so the least we can do is stop ourselves from stigmatising others going through it.
Every person experiences mental illness at a different pace, at different depths, at different lengths and in a plethora of other ways that are truly difficult to imagine.
Facing Metamorphosis
The 'transitions' theme has been a reflective process for me. Looking back over my life span and picking up a photo of when I was a child really brought home the stages that have happened since then.
My painting represents childhood trauma which I'm now facing in therapy with my psychologist. Each bullet shell represents a traumatic experience, such as family members self-harming, having suicide attempts, abusing drugs and alcohol, thieving, violence, neglect and emotional abuse.
 
Read the front-page Newspaper story of The Star Lake Macquarie!
“Tree of Life” by the Young At Heart Group
This work won the People’s Choice award.
Some of the other works entered for the 2019 See Me art show!

Main Coffee Co. Friendship and Partnership!

Meet Rachel - owner of Main Coffee Co.
We are so excited to have coffees and display art for sale all in the same place! They go hand in hand, such a relaxing vibe - head down and experience it!

The World's Greatest Shave - Leukaemia Foundation

$2500

raised!

On the 12th March 2015 I participated in the World's Greatest Shave - a lifelong goal and also something I was very afraid of doing!
A couple of my family members were suffering from blood illness at the time, my Grandma with cancer spreading through her organs, and my uncle with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and I felt helpless for them - so the least I could do was raise money towards assisting people in their situation. 
Thank you SO MUCH to all the kind and selfless people who donated to this cause; that money would have gone to helping someone living some very challenging days. 

Fruit n Veggies for the kids - giving back to The Russel Sprout!

I was lucky enough to be asked to assist New Lambton District OOSH's contribution to the local fruit and veggie shop - The Russell Sprout which has been supplying the children who attend OOSH with fresh food for the past 8 years. 
It was such a great experience to be able to help out and paint with the school kids. I love being part of such a close community relationship between the OOSH and the suppliers such as this awesome fruit n veggie shop!
The children also loved having the opportunity to contribute to something that's really being displayed at the shop down the road! They were so proud of their work!
Sadly The Russell Sprout has since closed down which has been a massive shock to the school, community and I. Wishing the owner all the best in his new adventures. 
 
I'd like to give a huge thanks everyone who was involved in this activity!
(Names not mentioned to respect the privacy of all individuals)
The Russell Sprout fruit n veggie shop front sign
Acrylic paint on MDF board