Skip to content

Flashes of Brilliance

July 29, 2013
Photograph by Lisa Snell

Lisa Snell, Light of Life

 We need the light of life.  People with mental health issues often live in poverty.  If I had superhuman powers I would make sure everyone in the world had everything they needed to light up their life. (Lisa Snell)

This combined photograph and text is one of 30 works in the exhibition Flashes of Brilliance, currently at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery.

The project is a collaboration between Toowoomba Clubhouse, a dedicated community working toward the recovery of adults living with a mental illness, and PhotoVoice Australia.

Photo of an apple in a cage by Brendan Timperley

Brendan Timperley, Apple in a Cage

There is a prize, a reward at the end. A prize of serenity and stability, glimpsed through the shadows of mental illness, like looking through the bars of a cage.

How to perceive what that prize is? It must be sought – we must look past the bars of illness – but it is there! (Brendan Timperley)

PhotoVoice is a process which enables people to document their own lives and to educate others about issues that affect them.  Participants in PhotoVoice projects around the world have found many benefits such as empowerment from telling their story, opportunities to educate people in the community, increased confidence and self-appreciation as well as improved camera skills.

For this project seven participants were trained in photography techniques and invited to take photographs on the following topics: things that make me happy, the challenges we face, what work means to me and what we would change if we had superhuman powers.  Each photographer brought images back to the group for a structured discussion which facilitated the development of stories describing aspects of their life with mental illness. The exhibition is a selection of some of their work, and shows how image and story have been creatively combined to represent the experience of mental illness in unfamiliar ways.

Photograph by Nora Watts

Nora Watts, Shadows

I was privileged to have a small but rewarding role in this project as a writer. While each participant was responsible for the text that would go with their photographs, I made suggestions about how to compose the stories, and helped with editing to produce the final versions.

The exhibition is available for tour to other galleries.

Shadows are who we are.  It seems like we have limited abilities to change the world in a positive way.  We do it better together than apart.  Why not use the power of relationships to bring life to the dead process of mental health support? (Nora Watts)

Photograph by Cari Shorten-Peake

Cari Shorten-Peake, Which is Prize, Which is Pest?

Picking rosellas to make jam, I could have easily brushed this creature aside as a pest,  but I remembered how often I had been brushed aside as a pest because of my Mental Illness. 

 I put the little chap and his rosella on a board and started clicking. 

Mental Illness – prize or pest?!?  (Cari Shorten-Peake)
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: