Balancing the Act: ADCQ newsletter -

Art from the edge

Painting - Multidimensional beingsAlong a corridor between nuclear medicine and the x-ray department I came upon a surprising exhibition. The corridor is in the St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane and the exhibition was put on by Art from the Margins.

The exhibition celebrated International Women's Day and featured the work of six local artists.

As I traced and retraced my way along the twisting corridor I got in the way of wheelchairs , staff, patients and relatives, who turned to look at what I was looking at.

Painting - Dog beachWhat I was looking at was paintings and photographic prints that were joyful, delicate, symbolic, confronting, absorbing and uplifting. Some, like Natasha Darling's Time collapse and Ancient grids (The World) addressed the big issues.  Around the corner the playful dog Winky rolled in the sand, and a game of beach cricket depicted by Belinda Peel made me smile.

I thought I had seen Reatha Kerr's intricate black and white drawings somewhere before. Was it one of those paintings on a traffic signal box? The answer is yes, and the repeated cellular patterns of these works are deeply calming.

Colleen Stevenson's iconic image Brass Tap captures the simplicity of form of an everyday tap and elevates it to the level of sculpture, while Rebekah McKaskill taps into youth culture and anime to inspire her work.

Black and white artworkThe idea of Art from the Margins was born from a conversation in a Brisbane park beside a coffee van not far from St Andrew's hospital, when a homeless artist spoke to a member of the Albert Street Uniting Church's Servant Network about his difficulties.

Each of the artists represented in this exhibition has their own story and many speak of their art as escapism or therapeutic. Kerry Thirlwell had two paintings in the exhibition – the charming Owl and the pussy, and the poignant The seed. Her statement, 'I can create beauty where there is pain' sums up for me the contribution of these wonderful artists.

If you see an exhibition of Art from the Margins advertised, just go.

Helen Bannerman, Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland Librarian