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Gallery of minds

Mater is using art to help young mental health patients connect with their thoughts and feelings and express them in new ways.

In 2009 the Kids in Mind Art Gallery—the brainchild of Mater’s long-established Child and Youth Mental Health Service (Mater CYMHS)—staged 10 exhibitions.

Developed three years ago, the gallery was designed to explore and document the link between creativity and mental health.

It is a dedicated space, located at the entrance to Mater CYMHS Management Unit, where creative works by a range of people, including young patients, are showcased.

Mater CYMHS Director Dr Brett McDermott said the gallery had become an integral part of Mater.

“Art and creative expression are fundamental communication forms for both primary and secondary school students,” Dr McDermott said.

“At Mater CYMHS we promote and facilitate the use of art with our patients. In turn the gallery constantly reminds us our daily work is with children.

“The gallery is now such a feature that between exhibitions when there is no art on display we all feel something is missing.”

Contributors to exhibitions held by the gallery have included Mater CYMHS staff members, local Brisbane artists, indigenous artists, children from a refugee background, children who have a parent with mental illness, and post graduate students in Art Therapy.

Gallery co-ordinator Kareen Adam, who is a research assistant at Kids In Mind Research, said the exhibitions staged in 2009 took the gallery concept to an exciting new level.

“In three years the gallery has evolved from an idea to a reality. The bare walls in our foyer have now become a space to showcase peoples’ creative capacity,” Ms Adam said.

The Kids in Mind Art Gallery exhibitions for 2009 were:

  • Dare to Ask Why! Research Poster Exhibition
    Kids in Mind Research conducts quality research in child and youth mental health in real-world settings. This exhibition featured publications and posters of research carried out by the research team and its associates and highlighted the role and achievements of the Research Unit to the wider CYMHS service.
  • Private Lives: Exhibition of art by Mater Staff
    This exhibition brought together art and craft works made by the staff of Mater CYMHS and CYMHS community clinics. The purpose of the exhibition was to provide staff a chance to display their creative talents and get acquainted with their colleagues in a fun and more creative level.
  • Painting and Monoprints: Nicky Carey
    Nicky Carey is an Irish-born, Brisbane-based artist who has schizophrenia. Mr Carey was invited to show his recent works at Kids in Mind Art Gallery to coincide with Schizophrenia Week 2009.
  • The 3rd UQ Masters of Mental Health Art Therapy Graduating Students Exhibition
    The gallery’s annual student exhibition.
  • Indigenous Art Exhibition
    The exhibition featured contemporary indigenous artists working in the Brisbane city area.
  • ADAWS Art Space exhibition
    ADAWS Art Space is a creative treatment program for adolescents entering or who have left the CYMHS drug and alcohol withdrawal service. This exhibition showcased a range of works created by the adolescents and staff members.
  • Me At Kidz Club
    Drawings by children who attended Kidz Club groups over the past two years. Water colour wax resist paintings depicted the children's experience when attending Kidz Club's groups and indicate a positive and colourful experience from the life of the child.
  • Behind and Beyond the Mask
    An exhibition of masks decorated by young women from a refugee background who are students of Yeronga State High School. The young women participated in a school based art therapy program with CYMHS health professionals, which explored their sense of self and multicultural identity.
  • What is Art Therapy?
    The artwork in this exhibit was completed by students, graduates and lecturers from the University of Queensland Masters of Mental Health – Art Therapy Program. They were asked to create a response to the questions: What is Art Therapy? and What does Art Therapy mean to me?

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