THROUGH MY EYES
Through My Eyes involved people with a mental illness in the Greater Western Area Health Service region, from Bathurst to Broken Hill; people living in the community and people in hospital in a mental health inpatient unit. Each participant was given a disposable camera with a simple brief to capture the world through their own eyes: share their journey, stories and views through photos. Professional photographic artist, Vince Lovecchio, curated the exhibition. The aim of the project was to break down the stigma associated with mental illness and build community awareness and understanding. The exhibition reveals the power of art to communicate complex social issues, encouraging understanding and conversation.
Vince Lovecchio’s Exhibition Statement states “There is a popular opinion that mental health problems somehow rob people of their personhood. This show and the many others that follow will hopefully serve to enlighten, awaken and challenge the source of this notion and remind the greater community of this group’s continued humanity in the face of psychological and physical suffering.”
Through My Eyes was launched at the Orange Regional Conservatorium in August 2009 as part of the Arts Health and Wellbeing Symposium coordinated by Greater Western Mental Health Services. Through My Eyes was so successful that arrangements were made to frame and pack the exhibition so that it could tour the region.
In November 2009 Through My Eyes was exhibited at the Geocentre in Broken Hill in July 2001 and officially opened by Dr Russell Roberts, Director of Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services, Greater Western Area Health Service. People were invited to come and hear local people speak candidly about their experiences of Mental Illness and recovery and to share words and pictures of hope. In the words of one contributor, a psychiatric label is a reality that is difficult to lose. Over time it can shape an identity that defines you. You can prevent this happening by discovering yourself and knowing your illness. Your label is not your true self.
"The visual impact of peoples experiences was incredibly powerful and the courage shown by members of our communities, by our friends, and by our family members is both inspiring and incredibly humbling," said Tuana Sanders, Regional Manager, Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services.
In December 2010 Through my Eyes was exhibited at the Western Plains Cultural Centre in Dubbo NSW.