Draw­ing on sur­vival skills

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Art - Des­tiny of a War­rior ex­hi­bi­tion un­til Novem­ber 17 Clare­mont Quar­ter Sara Fitz­patrick

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 very weak and suf­fer­ing fa­tigue, 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.

“In my case, I went from be­ing really strong and ca­pa­ble and do­ing so much to wiped out in

WHEN: WHERE: such a short pe­riod of time. And then I watched my body waste away very quickly; it was a real dras­tic change of hav­ing to deal with a new life, a dif­fer­ent life.”

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. “Many times I wished I had passed and just moved on to the next life and left this one be­hind, but I didn’t, I sur­vived. “

Art­work by An­thony Bres­lin.

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