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Launch of the together project art exhibition

The together project art exhibition

5th March 2019

Completed artworks from the together project art exhibition have enraptured visitors at the Project Space at Deakin University in Geelong.

The together project exhibition and Having A Say anniversary exhibition was launched on Monday 4 February. Excellent reviews and feedback from exhibition visitors extended the exhibition dates to Wednesday 27 February.

The together project is a participatory art installation exploring what it means to be safe, happy and respected. Based on the work of internationally renowned artist Judith Scott and led by artists with disability, people are encouraged to continue adding to the exhibition with their own wrap art, thoughts and feelings throughout the exhibition.

Marianna Codognotto from the Disability Services Commissioner said at the launch, “The project set out to find safe and creative ways to have difficult conversations about how we can do better in the area of prevention of violence and abuse.  By using music and art as ways to explore what prevention means, we have not only been fortunate to experience these beautiful pieces of art and music we have enabled opportunities, safe places so that people had their voices heard. We hope that these important voices become louder and prouder as a result of involvement in the project.”

“This is not the end of this conversation and in some cases it has barely been the start.  What we do know absolutely is we have all experienced how much kinder, more creative and fulfilling life can be when we are working to be safe together.”

The Having A Say Anniversary exhibition was a retrospective of award-winning works created by artists with disability. The works span the last decade of the Having a Say art competition, and are supported by the Senior Practitioner, Office of the Senior Practitioner.

Chris van Ingen with his art piece ‘Lock Box’ Caption: Chris van Ingen with his art piece ‘Lock Box’

Chris van Ingen contributed a bespoke art piece ‘Lock Box’ to the together project exhibition. He spoke at the launch about the importance of art for communication and read his poem ‘Lock Box’.

With his permission, we republish his poem here.

Lock Box

A moment in fear all I hear is the ticking of the clocks.
I have an unhealthy obsession with security; I hide everything in the Lock Box.
Someone asked me have I ever been abused and I said don’t be ridiculous, I am too strong.
When I look back on it however, I think I might have been wrong.

I feel safe and protected with my family. But when I venture out, I am surrounded by insecurity.
I remember at the so called “special school” where I was intimidated and made to feel like a fool.
Taking my wheelchair out of gear is an act of false imprisonment.
How many other rules have been bent?

I have done you no harm, then why have your fingers left bruises on my arm?
Punishing me is against the law but I can’t say anything until the perpetrator walks out the door.
I feel no respite when I am alone at night. If I say something is wrong, will you make me wait long?
I have many surgical scars but the mental abuse is what leaves the deepest scars.

Join us together in the Together Project and help me banish my fears and those ticking clocks.
So there’s no more need for my Lock Box.

Chris Van Ingen, 18 December 2018

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the together project and shared their thoughts, feelings, and beautiful artworks with us.

Note – We’re looking for opportunities to take the together project art exhibition around Victoria. If you own an art gallery, or know someone who does, please contact us.

the together project is a violence and abuse prevention initiative of the Disability Services Commissioner in conjunction with Art Gusto, the National Wool Museum and Arts Access Victoria.

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Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 Australia

Call for enquiries or complaints - 1800 677 342

Email for enquiries or complaints - complaints@odsc.vic.gov.au