The art of belonging

Throughout the year we used art to connect with our community and enable people to connect with others through the dual ‘Belonging’ exhibitions.

Open to residents across the South Eastern suburbs, ‘Belonging’ invited artists of all abilities to express what makes them feel like they belong, or connects them to a sense of belonging.

The exhibitions were designed to encourage community members’ involvement in creative activities, and increase wellbeing through participation in art.

“Art lets all people express their thoughts, skills, emotions and feelings,” CEO, Amanda Murphy said.

Ms Murphy said, “Like all our programs, the exhibition encouraged people to open their lives to new experiences that would help them understand themselves, and deepen their connection with their communities, to create a rewarding, lifelong difference.”

The exhibitions were an extension of our Gambler’s Help Southern, Social Support and Volunteer Programs.

Two art shows were held; an interagency event with business partners at the Girrawheen Centre in Brighton and the other, an independent exhibition at our Gardeners Rd office in East Bentleigh.

In total, 24 artists’ works were featured, reflecting the different ways in which they sense their belonging in our community.

The beautiful photograph titled ‘Loving Hands’ (above) by Connect Health & Community team member, Brooke, won the People’s Choice Award at our ‘Belonging’ exhibition.

Brooke said, “Love can be so fleeting, however some love endures. Sometimes you find the person that you belong to, and whom belongs to you. I was inspired by the love story of two such people and they allowed me to capture a moment of their life together.”

Community member, Maria Leonard, won second place with her breathtaking piece, ‘Belonging to the land’.

“My submission is a landscape from my homeland, Germany.  I turned 70 last year, so this is the perfect time to look back on where I came from and how far I‘ve come.  My landscape depicts my favourite spot, an area known as The Horses Head.  As a kid I was able to interact with the wild horses that lived there. What an adventure!

For the past 49 years I have lived in Australia – an amazing land of tremendous natural beauty. But I did not fully feel like I belonged in my new country until I was on a camping trip in rural Victoria. While there, I happened upon the heart-warming sight of wild brumbies running free.  That‘s when I knew I truly belonged in my new home.  You cannot truly understand where you belong, until you look back and see where you came from.”

‘Belonging’ invited artists of all abilities to express what makes them feel like they belong, or connects them to a sense of belonging.

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