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1st October 2018 Latest News

The Healing Potential of Art

the healing potential of art

Winner Rob Douma (centre) with MESHA (formerly The Road Home) Board of Governors Chair Brigadier Alison Creagh CSC (Ret’d) and The Hospital Research Foundation Chief Executive Paul Flynn.

Congratulations to Rob Douma, winner of the inaugural Napier Waller Art Prize. His work Green on Blue: The Betrayal of Trust took out the award at a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in September 2018.

Supported by MESHA in partnership with Thales Australia and the University of Canberra, the Napier Waller Art Prize aims to help promote the healing potential of art and raise a broader awareness of the military experience and the impact of service on the individual, it is open to all current and former Australian Defence Force personnel.

“Art allows me to tell the stories of Australia’s soldiers on deployment and the impact service has on their ongoing lives,” Mr Douma said.

As well as receiving a $10,000 cash prize, his artwork was displayed at the Australian War Memorial before being added to the National Collection. He also received a two-week research residency in the Art Section of the Memorial and a mentoring day with former official war artist Ben Quilty.

The People’s Choice Award went to Ian Cook, with his entry Mates, For Life (see below), an emotive line drawing that depicts the effect of service on the individual. His entry was chosen from a short list of 35 compelling and, at times, confronting artworks.

MESHA’s support of this national prize builds upon our commitment to the practice of art as a therapy or activity for those individuals affected by Post-Traumatic Stress as well as the broader veteran and emergency service community.

Offered as part of our innovative Wellbeing Program, art activities are conducted by accomplished artist and tutor Kaz Pedersen on the ward at the Jamie Larcombe Centre while art therapy is held twice a week at the Partnerships Hub with highly regarded art therapist Karin Foxwell.

Karin uses artists’ materials and therapeutic techniques to explore patients’ mental health and trauma in a client driven, controlled and supported way to re-frame, redefine and, in some cases, replace traumatic memories.

This life-changing program would not be possible without our generous donors. We look forward to continuing to develop and expand our activities so more people can experience the healing potential of art.


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