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    FEELING IT: Wimmera artists Fred Wallace, left, and Matthew McLoughlin have been busy exploring their creativity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Artists showcase feelings in work

By Dylan De Jong

A virtual art exhibition will showcase Wimmera artists’ work to help promote positive mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Uniting Wimmera has teamed up with artists from the region to put on the exhibition during Mental Health Week, which started on Saturday.

Wimmera-based artists’ work will feature on the service provider’s Facebook page and at its Baillie Street office.  

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The art show, in its fifth year, features the work of artists with lived mental health experience.

Matthew McLoughlin has dedicated many hours to exploring his creativity during the pandemic. 

He said the process of making art was a major boost to his wellbeing during stage-three lockdown in regional Victoria. 

“It’s very relaxing and very therapeutic. Especially with the whole world situation, it’s given me something to do,” he said. 

“I can’t get away and do anything at the moment, so I’ve put in a lot of time and money just focusing on art.”

Show organiser Paul Dickerson said the exhibition’s theme was ‘Speak Your Mind’ – to encourage artists to express their feelings, thoughts and stories through their art. 

“Many of the artists share what inspired them alongside their creations,” he said. 

“This year we are overwhelmed with the quality of the art from 19 contributors. 

“We have some amazing art canvasses, sculptures and for the first time we have a range of indigenous pieces thanks to Goolum Goolum collaborating with us this year.

“The work is truly outstanding and we thank the artists for continuing to raise awareness around mental health in rural communities.” 

Uniting Wimmera executive officer Josh Koenig said the exhibition provided a unique opportunity for people to express themselves and share their experiences. 

“It’s important to continue to talk frankly about mental health and share our stories, particularly during these difficult times,” he said.

“At Uniting we provide ongoing support for Wimmera people who experience mental illness through a range of programs that build capacity and engagement. We enable people to reach their recovery goals.”

Different pieces will be posted online each day during Mental Health Week, which finishes on Saturday.  

People who need support with their mental health can call Uniting Wimmera on 1800 195 114.

The entire October 14, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!