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Angels of Our Better Nature is a contemporary arts project featuring digital art and short films that explore the unique life experience and relationships of people living with acquired brain injuries (ABI), made by the people themselves. Throughout 2012 and 2013 some of Tasmania’s foremost artists have collaborated with people with ABI, their carers and families, to create 22 digital artworks (photographs, videos, animations, sound, text and music). These artworks express powerful and beautiful things about what it is to be human, what it is to love, to care and be cared for, to be vulnerable and the complexities of what it is to have a mind of ones own. The art is imbued with a generosity that speak to the hearts of all who see it.
Tasmanian community focused arts company Kickstart Arts initiated a partnership with Headway rebuilding lives, a specialist, community based rehabilitation service for people with disabilities in 2008. The partnership – a symbiotic relationship of mutual learning, trust, respect and creativity, has resulted in a major public multi art form installation and exhibition called Portraits of Invisible People in 2010 the now the Angels of our Better Nature project from 2012 – 2014 and beyond. Together the partner organisations have been conducting community arts and cultural development processes that have built the capacity of Headway rebuilding lives client communities to make their own art and for some to develop their practice to the point where they are becoming emerging artists in their own right.
The art makers are people with ABI who have suffered strokes, vehicle or other types of injuries. They made this installation as an act of generosity. They passionately want to help alert and educate young people and parents to the dangers of reckless or too risky behaviour, they also want people to understand the nature of their lives, their imagination, perspectives on life, hopes and dreams, sense of humour – as well as their impairments – better, and make an important contribution to the well being of others in society.
The artworks include images capturing what it’s like to have blurry vision; video work showing a mother teaching her adult daughter how to smile by moving her facial muscles; an exploration of the emotional landscape of a nursing home where the participant is the youngest resident by more than 35 years; love stories and video art made from extracts from a diary written by a woman who sets by the bedside of her husband dying of a stroke.
The digital artwork and short films are exhibited in The Art Teller Machine (ATM), which is a 2.3 metre high, 1.3 metre wide head made from plate steel with four screens for viewing and interacting with the digital artworks. It invites you to look into its eyes, and see the world from different perspectives and read what comes from its mouth. This wonderful and unusual sculptural object was designed collaboratively by the participants with ABI and a Designer, and is a unique wandering interactive exhibition that presents the digital artworks in public spaces.
Lesley Field, Phil Coleman and Brodie Saville are three emerging artists with ABI who made new artworks in the Angels of Our Better Nature Project during 2012 and 2013. These artworks are exhibited within the ATM, which were also screened at Town Hall during the public launch, and featured in a screening at the Kickstart Arts Centre in September 2013.
All three Artists were particularly inspired by their experience of making art and showing it publicly, they explored some profound issues through close collaborations with professional artists Richard Bladel, Matt Daniels, Les Allester and Max Bladel. Lesley, Phil and Brodie have expressed a desire to continue refining their expressive skills in photography, video art, sound and music, and to create new works that further develop their ideas and aesthetic approaches that began to form within the Angels project. Kickstart Arts aims to develop the creative capacity of all participants in our projects, and we will be providing ongoing individualised support to these three emerging artists during 2014.
The partnership between Kickstart Arts and Headway rebuilding lives was awarded the 2013 Tasmanian State Creative Partnerships Arts and Health Award and was one of six finalists for the National Award presented in November 2013. The Institute for Creative Health is proud to partner with Creative Partnerships Australia in the development and delivery of this Award.
Contact for more information:
Managing Creative Producer
Kickstart Arts Inc.
Phone: 0447 334 474