Illuminate was a very successful exhibition this year. Our primary objective was to get people talking about mental illness because this will help to break down the stigma that surrounds it. Well, we had over 100 people from the Illawarra community come to support this good cause on the opening night and many more over the weekend. Over 20 local artists (and some from Sydney) exhibited their works, often putting their inner psychological worlds on display, warts and all. How brave. Without them, this exhibition would not be possible.
By the end of the exhibition, EIGHT artworks were sold. The artists were very appreciative and many felt very well supported by the community they live in. This to me is the greatest achievement of the night. However, we also managed to raise $1500 that will be donated to the Movember Foundation, who are working towards a world where men and boys take action to be mentally healthy.
Some of the highlights of the event night include performances by Lo Roberts and Ewen P.G., who set the scene with their melodic tunes that even ended with a dance off by a few energetic Illuminatees. Sam Van painted the kids’ faces and sparkled the face of an adult or two. Dr. Rach showcased her artistic flare (yes, not just a psychologist) with roaming ‘One Minute, One Line’ portraits of attendees, and Eloise Cleary created an artwork on the evening, which was amazing to see as it evolved over the evening from a blank piece of plywood to a magical display of colour and inspiration. It must be noted that all of the above artists mentioned were not paid; they gave their time and themselves to the benefit of the evening.
A special thanks is in order for the Timber Mill Studios and Café in Bulli. They were fantastic and provided the perfect space with delicious food for everyone to enjoy. Also, a special thanks to Cupitts Winery in Milton for their generous donation of red wine, thoroughly enjoyed by all. If you haven’t been to their winery you must do so, it is beautiful and their restaurant is delicious.
Finally, thank you to the Illawarra community for being a part of this event and exhibition. Together, we have helped to shed a light on mental health.