DRAW­ING ON SUR­VIVAL SKILLS

Fremantle Gazette - - LIFESTYLE -

WHEN An­thony Bres­lin woke up with bruises the size of grape­fruits on his legs three years ago, he knew he had leukaemia.

He had watched his older brother die from the dis­ease 23 years ago, aged 38, so he recog­nised the signs when he saw them.

“I watched my brother die – was with him all the way, right un­til the end – and I thought: ‘That is go­ing to hap­pen to me, I’m go­ing to end up like him,” the Mel­bourne artist said.

But that wasn’t the end for Bres­lin.

“I was hos­pi­talised for months and needed a bone mar­row trans­plant to live be­cause I was dy­ing – I ac­tu­ally al­most died three times,” he said.

“I’m not too bad at the mo­ment – I’m a long way off be­ing good and I’ve got kid­ney fail­ure but I’m off dial­y­sis, which is a mir­a­cle.”

The for­mer body­builder, now 20kg lighter, is phys­i­cally weak but has pow­ered on with a new­found per­spec­tive and pur­pose.

“When you go through some­thing like this, you have to dig deep into your mind and your per­cep­tion of re­al­ity be­cause there are lots of things you have to let go of quickly,” he said. “I went from be­ing strong and ca­pa­ble to wiped out in such a short pe­riod of time. I watched my body waste away quickly – it was a dras­tic change.”

About a year ago, con­fined to a hos­pi­tal iso­la­tion room, Bres­lin be­gan to cre­ate a war­rior man.

Bit by bit he drew the fig­ure: the star of his new “come­back” ex­hi­bi­tion.

“I used to draw when­ever I had the en­ergy and this char­ac­ter de­vel­oped who was like a war­rior and I started to go: “I’m draw­ing him be­cause that’s how I feel,’” Bres­lin said. Sara Fitz­patrick

An­thony Bres­lin’s We Are The Planet.

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