I am a qualified visual artist who has participated in 11 solo and group art exhibitions. Art practice is an important part of healing and for my wellbeing. Nature can be uplifting and inspiring, and art practice offers interesting technical challenges. Art gets me motivated by doing drawings and gives me a reason to get outside or to be active indoors – to find those places that are peaceful.
I come from two cultures – Bengali and Australian. I’ve found that both my travels overseas and my health difficulties have encouraged me to want to venture to explore my feelings and surroundings, as well as the details of life in the everyday. I drew from a young age, and since my Dad sketched, he inspires me. My art reflects life’s stories and is a way of responding with feelings and in creating a mood, requiring me to focus on closely observing life. Art is a way for people to see my potential as a fully rounded, sensitive and interested person.
Art classes are soothing, when other environments can be challenging. I appreciate the feedback I get during art classes. I feel encouraged and it motivates me to get engaged, to keep experimenting, and to express myself. We nurture each other within the supportive and creative environment. Attending classes is a good means for self-discovery, gives me a way to relate within the world, and helps me feel that I am in a safe environment. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to classes, which helps my self-esteem and makes me feel included. My art classes are accessible, they are a way to explore things I like, give me a focus to look forward to, and focus me on my strengths. When I can’t resolve other problems so easily, art helps me overcoming negative thoughts and worries.
Illness impinges on life and is often a solo journey. People need to realise that we are still vulnerable – still need human understanding – even when we display health problems. What is the journey towards recovery really about? It’s about understanding and showing care in listening to peoples’ stories. Through observing an artwork we can learn about the value of the recoverer’s message as well as becoming an opportunity to sensitively attend to their communication.
What is the main message I want to give to the public and parliamentarians when they see my work? I want them to appreciate that through artwork we can tell interesting stories and express feelings. You can access a greater understanding of the nation’s citizens. Also you can realise where the real support services are provided by government, and these services are a good step forward to creating and valuing us as individuals. Within that caring support and understanding, there is hope.
Story told to Loretta Picone.