By: Warren Nunn
An annual art exhibition is helping break down barriers and make a difference in the lives of those living with a disability … and all of society as well.
EPIC Assist, which helps people with disability find and maintain employment, believes the exhibition helps build a society that respects and values everyone.
We are working to build a society of diversity, where difference is not seen as a deficit…
The exhibition’s theme ‘A World of Difference’ seeks to challenge others to question what being different means to them.
The ability rather than any disability defines the artists whose work will be displayed during December at Graydon Gallery in New Farm.
“We are working to build a society of diversity, where difference is not seen as a deficit, but as an attribute to be celebrated and harnessed,” EPIC Assist’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Bill Gamack said.
Conversations that make a difference
While the artwork itself is a powerful expression of the gifts of the various individuals, the artists want to have conversations with others around the exhibition’s theme of making a difference.
Donna Hawkins, who has an auto-immune disorder, said painting allowed her to shift her focus to something that “transports me to a happier state of mind”.
“I would rather focus on the fact that I have a creative spirit, just as alive and rich as anyone else’s, than to dwell on the physical limitations that make me different to the healthy person I used to be, or to those around me without these difficulties,” she said.
For Peter Shaw, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, difference is what makes the world liveable. “There is no end of difference in the world, and everyone in it is also different,” he said.
Using gifts to help shape views
Lily Mitchell, who has an eye condition that limits her to peripheral vision only, wants her artwork to make a difference and contribute to a world where a mutual level of social acceptance for people with disability exists.
“This world of difference can only be accomplished through education, which is what I believe my own work and this exhibition aims to do,” she said.
… I am living with a disability, I am happy, fulfilled and content with who I am.
Born with Down syndrome, Peter Rowe said being able to express himself was very therapeutic. “People are rushing around with their constantly extremely busy lives. They have no time for the nice enjoyable things in life anymore. They are sad and have no feelings of enjoyment of life. In contrast, even though I am living with a disability, I am happy, fulfilled and content with who I am.”
Mr Gamack says the exhibition is also a perfect way to celebrate International Day of People with Disability.
When and where is the exhibition?
EPIC Assist Art Exhibition “A World of Difference”
Tuesday 11 December to Friday 21 December
Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr Rd, New Farm, Brisbane.
About the author: Warren Nunn has been a journalist for more than 40 years. For 27 years until 2013, he worked at Queensland’s main daily newspaper The Courier-Mail.