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New youth exhibition explores the powerful connection between art creation and improved mental health.

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Media Release: 11 February 2020

A new exhibition featuring never-before-seen works created by young multidisciplinary artists will launch to the public this Thursday 13 February at The Dax Centre in Melbourne.

From Heart + Mind contains a diverse range of artworks from 11 emerging and contemporary artists, all with a lived experience of mental illness. They share their personal stories through a distinctly youth-focused lens in a diverse range of engaging artworks including paintings, drawings, films, zines and sculptures. These artworks explore topics such as mental health, neurodiversity, gender and identity.

Each piece draws inspiration from personal experience and provides a unique perspective on challenging themes including trauma, stigma, isolation and inequality.

Exhibiting artist Rebecca Pidgeon acknowledges the long-standing relationship between creating art and positive mental wellbeing.

"Art has always provided me with a method of coping and expressing how I feel. Art became a way for me to talk about myself and my thoughts in a way that I was not able to do verbally,” Rebecca said.

Fellow From Heart + Mind artist Sean McDowell said, “While the outcome of the work is extremely important, my personal objective is to work on my mental health and wellbeing, as well as sharing my story.”

Sean describes their artwork in the exhibition as 'highly autobiographical' and uses CT and MRI scans of the brain and skull as a key focus. Sean explains the intention behind using these particular materials allows them to confront past trauma and work through the issues that emerged as a result of these experiences. 

Director of The Dax Centre Charmaine Smith explains the importance of featuring young voices in both the art and mental health space.

From Heart + Mind provides an opportunity for young creatives to be part of an important conversation about the lived experiences of trauma, isolation, stigma and inequality,” Charmaine said.

“Last year, we saw more than 4000 young Victorians visit The Dax Centre, and with the support of The Vizard Foundation, we wanted to provide a way for those under the age of 30 to engage with the gallery in a new way. Their creative voices are so important and are front and centre of the exhibition, as artists share with us their personal experiences and challenge us to think about mental health in new ways.”

Youth worker and 2020 Youth Australian of the Year Ms Taya Davies will officially open the exhibition on Thursday February 13 at an all-ages, free-of-charge event between 6pm and 8pm at the gallery.

There will be a number of public programs held over the duration of From Heart + Mind, including workshops and interactive activities. Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet several artists in residence throughout the exhibition. For further details on these programs, please head to

Admission to From Heart + Mind is free. For more information visit

Opening hours: February 13 to April 26, 2020. Every Wednesday – Friday, 10am-4pm.

Exhibiting Artists: Rebecca Pidgeon, Sean McDowell, Chudan Peng, Tyron Tran, Jacob Chapman, Zoe Glen-Norman and Kendall Fraser.

Artists in Residence: Romy Durrant, Brianna Bullen, Jac Gelbart and Jemi Gale.


Anyone looking for information, support and guidance from mental health professionals can contact the SANE Help Centre on 1800 187 263 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from 10am-8pm AEST. 

For anyone in crisis, call:

Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1800 659 467
Mensline: 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

The Dax Centre is a leader in the use of art to raise awareness and reduce stigma towards mental health issues. Through their exhibitions and education programs, they seek to engage, inform and encourage community connections and conversations about mental health. The centre is named after Dr Eric Cunningham Dax AO, and his pioneering work to develop mental health care and improve the quality of life for those living with mental illness. Opening hours: Every Wednesday – Friday, 12-5pm

SANE is a national mental health charity working to support four million Australians affected by complex mental health issues including schizophrenia, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression and anxiety.

To request an interview with Director of The Dax Centre Charmaine Smith, please contact:

Media contact on Monday - Thursday
Bronwyn Miller – 0438 092 371
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Media contact on Friday
Bianca Lapins – 0439 708 381
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last updated: 29 April 2022

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