Visibility by The Disability Trust Open 3 June – 25 June 2017

By , 8 June, 2017

The Disability Trust and Belconnen Arts Centre is pleased to invite you to discover the wonderful work being created locally by adults with disabilities.

Euan Graham, Team Leader for The Disability Trust, tells us about the great outcomes being achieved by the group and their development as artists:

‘The Hughes House Art program has been running since 2014 when The Disability Trust began operating the centre which also provides quality short term accommodation for adults with disabilities. The Disability Trust’s vision is “creating an inclusive world” and we recognise the great outcomes that come from artistic endeavours for people with disability and so we have given the centre a strong focus on creative activities.” 

As a practicing artist for 30 years, I was eager to inject a very strong visual arts aspect into the daily operations of the centre. Picture making is a very personal idiom through which people can express themselves. This has added significance when considering the challenges many of our clients face in the area of communication. They can speak to us through their images, and our walls are now alive with their messages.”

 The enthusiasm of my colleagues Greg Wie and Marja Rouse is another essential ingredient in maintaining motivation and focus for our program.  Greg has a background in graphic design and has a profound interest in the visual arts. He has worked tirelessly in nurturing, encouraging and guiding our artists, helping them to take leaps forward in their technique and understanding of picture making. All our artists love working with Greg and it is his innate ability to understand and make connections with people that is the foundation upon which many of our artists have grown.

Recently Marja Rouse has added depth to our team in her contributions to the Thursday art program. Her gentleness and patience make her an ideal collaborator, and her deep interest and appreciation for visual art is liberally shared with everyone around her. She says “The Thursday art group is very inspirational. Everyone has their own style which has evolved over time and it’s interesting to chart that progress when walking down our corridors and seeing earlier works. Our participants manage to work on their art individually despite the business of the environment. We offer guidance and have discussions in regard to which colour to use or what brush to pick, but they are all very motivated and just get on with it”.

It has become a very important aspect of people’s social life as well, and the comradeship has also grown amongst our participants.




Meet The Artists


 Shamath Perera may sit at a painting for some months adding his scumbled brush marks, slowly building up layers, shapes and contrasting colours. Sometimes his work is very pain staking, with a fine brush adding the tiniest of contributions to the whole. Then he may be found with full body in action making sweeping gestures across the canvas. He favours an all over approach, and his works often transform dramatically over the weeks and months that they take to finish. He is an unassuming member of our group and rarely speaks but is always ready with a large sheepish smile when he receives praise. He was one of the first to join the art group and has remained a quiet though prolific contributor.

Annette Hunt took to the medium of oil pastels some years ago, and can sit for many hours creating her vibrant shape constructions. Often her works resemble a landscape from on high, where water meets land or the tangle of a thicket of flowers placed against an indeterminate back ground. Her brush marks are often very deliberate and chiselled, placed with care, building upon a shallow space to reveal a sense of depth and complexity.

Lissette Brown has grown her vocabulary of linear motifs over the past two years and now has an impressive repertoire to draw upon when designing her compositions. Her work is a form of automatism where she uses her symbols to enrich the surface with a calligraphic sensibility. The lyrical nature of her completed pictures is quite astounding, bringing the richness of her life experience to the surface with an ease and deftness of touch that belies her amateur status. Sometimes we see an aerial view or map like detail that seems to speak of place, or a secret understanding of places that reside deeper than what can be seen in a glance. She is a steady and cheerful participant who continues to work despite the often chaotic happenings around her. She always manages to see the comical side of things and brings to our group both her good humour and her inspirational artworks.

Daniel Castello is a painter’s painter, most at home with a large brush and a broad stroke. He has experimented with lineal motifs in his works as well as his characteristic fragmentation of the picture surface. One of our most prolific artists, Daniel never fails to arrive each week, intent of putting brush to canvas in a free and uninhibited fashion. As his confidence has grown, so too has his awareness of colour and placement of shape to build vibrant and bold compositions. He may choose to unify a canvas with a series of dots, or cut back into previous content leaving a patterned surface of windows and fragments. Daniel is a true expressionist, with a non-objective purpose. His bold gestural paintings reveal the passion of his mood and he finds great pleasure in committing his marks to canvas. I asked him once if he ever painted at home, and he said very forthrightly “no, I paint at Hughes”

Lisa Wilkin has come so far in such a short time. From modest beginnings she is now the creator of highly original and vibrant paintings that light up our walls and are a constant pleasure to witness. Once a week she comes to art, and it may take an hour for her to get into the groove, but once she has found it she is a tireless worker, and can persist with an artwork for hours on end. She has embraced a unique approach often using art markers to create a patterned effect across the surface of a painting, and then following up with a variety of brush marks in a similar manner to create an over-all complexity that unifies the painting in a delicate fashion. Lisa has no doubt been inspired by the other goings on around her and she brings her vibrant and often acerbic witty personality to the art room which is also reflected in her special creations.

J.S Allan is another of our artist’s who excels in the area of automatism. Her language of forms springs from a deep internal place. Iconographic birds and characters populate the surface, while at other times she excels at larger plains of colour added with a dry brush to create mysterious juxtapositions of form and colour. Her imagery is often embedded in the natural world, though it also reverberates with something deeply personal, a perspective of the world that is uniquely her own. Jenny can work on a number of pictures in a session, adding a colour to a set of canvases in turn. The art programs at Hughes have become a key focus for her during the week, and the smile she gives when praised contains a well spring of pride in her accomplishments.’

You can visit this uplifting and energetic exhibition until the 25th of June 2017.