AccessibilityCommunity EngagementMaroondahSpeeches and Presentations

Opening Brush Strokes – artworks by stroke survivors

By September 4, 20073 Comments

I was invited by the Croydon Stroke Support Group to open Brush strokes – artworks by stroke survivors. The exhibition, located in the foyer of Maroondah Art Gallery in Federation Estate, features a range of artworks, all made by stroke survivors. Amongst the artwork, which includes paintings, scarves, dolls, woodwork and tapestry, are a number of collaborative paintings using instruments such as chopsticks, eyedroppers and cups to allow all members to contribute.

Through this artwork the Croydon Stroke Support Group has helped re-engage members of our community and assist in restoring the confidence of stroke survivors. Brush Strokes will be featured at Maroondah Art Gallery until the 30th of September.

Alex Makin at the opening of bushstrokes - artworks by stroke survivors

A 2008 calendar, which features the work displayed at the exhibition is available for purchase for just $15. All proceeds are returned to the Croydon Stroke Support Group, a non-profit, voluntary group that provides support and companionship for stroke survivors within Maroondah.

Please continue reading to view the speech I delivered at the opening of this exhibition.

I would like to thank everyone for their attendance this morning for the Opening of Brush Strokes at the Maroondah Art Gallery. I would also like to acknowledge the attendance of Jan Kronberg, MLC for Eastern Metropolitan Region, David Hodgett, the Member for Kilsyth, and my colleague Cr. Jo-anne Taylor of Mullum Ward. I would also like to make special mention of Gillian and Wendy from the Croydon Stroke Support Group for their ongoing dedication to the group, as well as Jacky from the Stroke Association of Victoria.

This exhibition celebrates the collaboration and support offered to members of the Croydon Stroke Support Group and we are fortunate to have a number of works featured within the foyer at Federation Estate. This project received funding assistance from Maroondah City Council and the concept, which looked great in paper, is even greater now in reality now that it has been completed.

As you look throughout the exhibition you will no doubt be as awestruck as I was by the depth of talent and creativity of the group’s membership. While art may come naturally for some people, many of the artists this morning have had to re-learn their artistic skills after experiencing a stroke and the quality of the work within the foyer is a testament to the supporting nature of the Croydon Stroke Support Group.

In particular, there is a series of collaborative works which allowed all members to contribute, with a number of unique instruments, such as chopsticks, cups and eye droppers. These collaborative pieces document the experiences of the members and the support and friendship gained from others. This art also provides a lasting memory of the members involved, such as the contribution of Flora who diligently participated in the collaborative pieces. While Flora passed away several weeks ago, her passion and contribution for this collaborative artwork will remain. Within the collaborative pieces you will notice a number of similar themes, such as hands representing support and dreamscapes representing hope.

As you wander through the exhibition you will also notice wooden lettering, these words which include ‘fun’, ‘care’ and ‘hope’ encapsulate the support and enjoyment the members have received from this exhibition and from each other.

Adjoining the windows, are a number of silk scarves which were also created collaboratively and there are also a number of ceramic pieces and woodwork showing the diversity and breadth of skills within the group. Through this artwork the Croydon Stroke Support Group has helped re-engage members of our community and assist in restoring confidence. Before I open the exhibition I would like to encourage you to sign the visitors book and also to consider the purchase of a 2008 calendar which features a number of pieces from the artwork on display.

I have often believed that all good art exhibitions should pose a number of questions. For me, this exhibition demonstrates the strength and support provided through the Croydon Stroke Support Group and also asks the question as to how we as a broader community can further strengthen our community and assist in re-engaging people who have experienced hardship.

I would like to once again thank everyone for their time this morning and now declare Bush Strokes to be officially open.

Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email: alex@alexmakin.com.au