Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE - Jes­sica Nico

A GROUP of WA peo­ple liv­ing with an in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity are us­ing art to show pride in who they are.

Al­most 140 pieces of art will be on dis­play at Perth’s Cen­tral Park build­ing this week as artists from all over the state come to­gether for the an­nual As We Are Art Award and Exhibition.

With the exhibition in­cor­po­rat­ing work from award win­ning artists such as Greg Barr, David Guhl, Ka­t­rina Bar­ber and Clive Col­len­der among scores of oth­ers, co-or­di­na­tor Susie Waller said it al­ways proved to be a vis­ually awein­spir­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for both artists and art-lovers alike.

“The As We Are Art Award and Exhibition was in­spired by the cre­ative ex­pres­sion of artists who have an in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity and a be­lief in equal op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she said.

“It was ini­ti­ated by Ros­alind Lewis from Ci­ti­zen Ad­vo­cacy Perth West in 2002 as a one-off art award and exhibition and with great suc­cess and sup­port, it has grown to be­come a pres­ti­gious and sig­nif­i­cant an­nual event on the WA arts cal­en­dar.

“The award is im­por­tant as it is a plat­form for Western Aus­tralian artists who have an in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity to show­case their tal­ent, ex­press their creativ­ity, com­pete for pres­ti­gious awards and to ex­hibit and sell their art­work.

“For some in this artis­tic group, art is one of the few op­por­tu­ni­ties they have to com­mu­ni­cate; this is their voice, their chance to be heard.”

White Gum Val­ley’s Paul Mitchell said art was good for peo­ple liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity be­cause it was some­thing they could do as well, if not bet­ter, than oth­ers.

“I en­joy paint­ing very much be­cause when Steve Ir­win died I de­cided to paint a por­trait of him. It won an award and was ex­hib­ited at sev­eral ex­hi­bi­tions and I de­cided to carry on paint­ing dif­fer­ent sub­jects,” he said.

The exhibition is at Cen­tral Park Tower foyer from Septem­ber 25 to Oc­to­ber 7.

Pic­ture: Jon Hewson­mu­ni­ d459287

Artists Paul Mitchell, Philip Smoker, Dave Giles, Martin Cahill and Jack McKe­vitt.

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