I have just came back from the Lake Wendouree 5.30am walk organised by The Ballarat Suicide Prevention Network.

Each day six Australians are lost to suicide, so the second annual Out of the Shadows Walk was set to increase awareness. Most of us would at some point in our lives be affected by suicide, either directly or indirectly.. I decided to take part in the walk as I have also lost some of my best childhood friends and members of family to suicide.

Ballarat Suicide Prevention Day walk Under the floorboards art project Aldona Kmiec candle
Walking out of suicide’s shadow Ballarat walk 5.30am Saturday 15 September 2012

 

I also wanted to raise awareness about the issues that exists in our society but are not often talked about and how important it to talk about them to ‘let them out’. As an artist closely working with and connected to my local community, I feel there should be more open discussion.

One of the significant art projects I am currently working on with Uniting Care Ballarat is Under the Floorboards project.

Through twelve funded artist residencies, 12 artists will gain insight into UnitingCare Ballarat’s operations and gain understanding of the individuals, communities, and services it provides. They will then create a representative body of work reflecting that experience. The UnitingCare Ballarat Under the Floorboards project aims to promote the issues it confronts and the work it does as well as raise money for its services and foster the creation of great art.

I am the first artist to have recently completed the month long artist residency and I am now working on my final four mosaic portrait artworks. The first hand experience with Uniting Care clients, working as a volunteer, the conversations and connections I managed to build with many people was invaluable for me to start this project. As I am starting to collate the visual documentation of my journey through people’s lives, I reflect and wish to thank everyone who has shared their time and stories with me during my residency. This experience means a lot to me personally as well as professionally.

Stay tuned for more.