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Cunningham Dax Exhibition

Cunningham Dax Art Exhibition


We are delighted to be able to have part of the Cunningham Dax Collection coming to Traralgon for our Art – A Way Out Of The Darkness exhibition.

Because of his world wide reputation as a leading psychiatrist and mental health reformer, in the early 1950’s Dr Eric Cunningham Dax was head-hunted by the Bolte Government to reform Victoria’s mental health system.

He was appointed as founding Chairman of the then Mental Hygiene Authority (later to be known as the Mental Health Authority) in 1952.

During his service to Victoria, Dax introduced many far-reaching reforms, resulting in the Authority becoming known as the leading training ground for psychiatry and mental health work for all the English speaking populations of the south west pacific region.

He had a burning zeal to expand psychiatric services, the teaching of psychiatry and the education of Doctors in the psychiatric principles and this led him to be the founder of the Chair of Psychiatry at Melbourne University.

Teaming up with Edward Adamson Cunningham Dax pioneered art therapy as part of mainstream psychiatric treatment.

He soon began a collection of works produced by psychiatric patients, which grew to become the largest collection of its type in the world. The collection currently includes over 15,000 pieces and is located at the Dax Centre in the grounds of Melbourne University.

Because of the connection with the old Hobson’s Park Psychiatric Hospital, it is very appropriate that a small part of this collection is now to be shown in Traralgon. The Art- A Way Out Of The Darkness exhibition will be held at St James’ Church in Grey St, Traralgon from Thursday 17th November till Sunday 20th November. Opening night on Thursday 17th will run from 7pm till 9pm, and on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th the exhibition will be open from 10am till 4pm. On Sunday 20th the exhibition will be open from 1pm till 4pm, and attendees will be invited to take part in a collaborative art project.

Following from the exhibition, Barrier Breakers will be offering an art course for people affected by mental illness. The course will run through February and March 2017, and application forms will be available at the exhibition.

Barrier Breakers is extremely grateful to both the Keith Chenhall Charitable Trust and the Latrobe City Arts Trust for the funding to make this exhibition and the follow-up art course possible, and to the Dax Centre for making part of the collection available, and to St James’ Church for making the church premises available for both the exhibition and the course.


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