Art paves road to recovery

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Every picture tells a story: Annabelle Carver’s Cries of Frustration painting will be among exhibits at an exhibition at Frankston Arts Centre aimed at starting conversations about mental health. Picture: Yanni

ART can heal old mental wounds. That’s the message of an exhibition called The Art of Recovery to be held at Frankston Arts Centre’s Cube 37 during Mental Health Week.

The annual event, coordinated by not-for-profit mental health and disability support organisation Wellways, showcases the talents of artists affected by mental health issues.

Annabelle Carver is one of the artists whose artwork Cries of Frustration will be on display from 8-14 October.

Carver recently moved to the western suburbs, having lived in Seaford for most of her life.

From the age of 14 until 22 when her family sought help for her anxiety and depression, Carver struggled to live a productive life.

“Throughout my teenage years and early adulthood I was quite affected by that depression and anxiety,” she said.

“I was introduced to meditation and artwork by a good friend who I actually used to go to school with.

“What I found with doing artwork is it took me to that level of meditation without actually having to be in the mindfulness part of the meditative state.

“Artwork allowed me to come in to the present moment and let it all out.”

The 32-year-old said art therapy continues to work for her and she continues to paint, sketch or draw every day.

“My canvas is my therapy. It gave me calm and solace that I never knew existed.”

Wellways CEO Elizabeth Crowther said the organisation is hosting art event nationally to encourage people to talk about their mental health experiences.

“This exhibition in Frankston is a great way for people with lived experience or their carers and families to share their stories visually,” she said.

“Art is a great medium for sharing stories and is also a recognised therapeutic model.”

Carver said she is proud to be part of the exhibition to hopefully eradicate the stigma some people may feel about mental illness.

She has a positive message for those struggling with the pain of depression and anxiety.

“Follow your heart and do whatever makes you happy whether it’s cooking, dancing, singing, walking in the park, playing drums or music.

“Whatever makes you happy continue to do that and if it brings you joy and happiness then everything else that you’re feeling will just basically fall by the wayside.”

  • The Art of Recovery exhibition is free to attend and runs from Thursday 5 October-Saturday 28 October at Cube 37, Frankston Arts Centre, 25-37 Davey St, Frankston.

Works can be viewed Tuesday to Friday, 9am-5pm and on Saturdays, 9am-2pm.

Visitors to Cube 37 can spend an evening with the artists at the Artist’s Soiree on Monday 9 October, 6-8pm. The evening will include refreshments and entertainment.

Anyone interested in producing artwork or attending the Artist’s Soiree should call Wellways Frankston on 9784 6800.    

For crisis support and counselling call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the suicide call back service on 1300 659 467.

First published in the Frankston Times – 2 October 2017

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