Still Standing art exhibition highlights resilience


Yarra Ranges Council is supporting a host of talented artists from Kapi Arts Inc in their latest exhibition, aptly called Still Standing, which focuses on building resilience and wellbeing following the June storm and COVID pandemic.

The Kalorama-based not-for-profit arts organisation is holding the exhibition at Kapi Art Space and includes 32 artists who have worked through their trauma from the past two years to create over 53 pieces of art.

Kapi Inc member, Gail Koehler experienced the storms first-hand and said that art has been a powerful tool for herself and Kapi Inc members to facilitate their recovery process.

“For me, I live in sassafras and after the storms the trees in my backyard, which I’ve lived with for over 20 years, became a threat rather than something of beauty, but when I started painting them they transformed back into what I appreciated them for and put me in the right headspace,” she said.

Unlike previous exhibitions that Kapi Arts Inc have held, which focus on individual recovery experience, Gail said this exhibition speaks to many residents lives and is a testimony and legacy of the work of the people, that, despite the challenges still stand tall, create, and overcome.

“The creative and artistic works showcased in this exhibition will play a significant role for both artists and audience; it will make them share a common connection with the experience of lockdown and devastation, we do still stand in this together, everyone in our own way, but we are all connected.”

“We’ve all experienced the same things, and some have dealt with it in different ways, but we really hope this exhibition creates a shared space where people can talk and for people who aren’t necessarily artists to connect on common ground, so even though the art might not be their avenue the shared experience will be,” she said.

“That’s also where having the support of the Council has been really important as we can help some people connect with support agencies through the Council’s contact sheets and recovery documents.”

Yara Ranges Mayor, Jim Child opened the event on Sunday, 6 March and said that art programs such as the exhibition at Kapi Art Space highlight the many benefits of the arts to personal and community wellbeing, particularly after a time of upheaval such as the June storm and COVID Pandemic.

“These creative projects in particular have been instrumental in allowing people within our communities to work through and deal with their trauma in a creative manner,” Cr Child said.

“From something so traumatic people have been able to develop new skills, build networks and connections while sharing their stories.”

This is one of several Art projects supported by Yarra Ranges Council.

The exhibition is running from 4-13 March at Kapi Art Space, 1282 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Kalorama.

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