COVID-19: in-person events are postponed and there are changes to council services.

Community Exhibition: ‘Working Under the Shadow of Happiness’

‘Working Under the Shadow of Happiness’ explores the notion of happiness within the lives of people with disability and/or mental health issues. 
Tristana Fitzgerald, Lynne Kells and Owen Renfrey are artists from a community art group at Kew Neighbourhood Learning Centre, who have worked in a variety of media including printmaking, painting, photography, drawing and prose.

The artists in this exhibition each offer a highly nuanced account of living as a person with a disability, presenting an alternative perspective to the pervasive view that the difficulties of disability must result in misery.

Concentrating on the fact disability and/or mental health issues are no barrier to achievement, satisfaction and contentment, the artists provide the opportunity for you to participate in an exploration of happiness.

This exhibition is supported by the City of Boroondara Community Strengthening Grants program and Rotary Club of Balwyn.

Some artworks in this exhibition are for sale. Visit our shop to purchase an artwork.

Banner image: Lynne Kells, detail from ‘Through the magnifying glass (happiness in a past life)’, 2021, mixed photo collage, alcohol ink, card and acetate on wooden ply board, 21 x 29 cm, image courtesy of the artist.

Tristana Fitzgerald

My work for ‘Working Under the Shadow of Happiness’ explores how we feel and express our emotions through our everyday lives; the way we live in today’s society, adapting to change. We are all on a personal journey exploring the meaning of happiness and the impact it has on our lives. This is what I am exploring as an artist, through evoking different emotions with my work. This series of work is attempting to understand the importance of how individuals live outside the norm everyday, and the way that impacts on how our world is perceived in that moment.

My series of works tell individual stories of our experiences and coping mechanisms during these challenging times in lockdown; how we overcome the feeling of isolation. The way we live within our environment currently is forever changing and adapting - the work I produce evolves just as life evolves. My art encourages the viewer to think about their life.

I am very passionate about printmaking and the technical side of it. There are no limitations, success or failures when it comes to printmaking; it is experimental, and that is what I love about it. My interest is in the human form and creating abstract works. As an artist, I put my mind, body, and soul into my work. Art is for everyone, regardless of where we live, our age, background, socioeconomic or personal circumstances.

I would like to be considered as an artist, not a person with a disability who is an artist.

Lynne Kells

Art is my daily passion, my medicine, meditation about issues and concepts drawing me. I describe my artworks as intuitive and an attraction to colour and creation is reflected in my work. I am constantly conceptualising how to present the ideas I have about myself and the world around me. My aim is to express energy within a piece that hopefully people resonate or empathise with.

In depth discussions between the artists in the exhibition prompted the theme of this show. The exhibition title 'Working under the Shadow of Happiness’ refers to the pressures on society to be happy and appear happy when outside our home, the influences on happiness and how changes in circumstances influence this state. In stark contrast to this, is a preconception that the disabled are not happy (and paint in dark colours) mostly disseminated by the Media. We invite you to join us in exploring happiness; what makes us happy, do these ideas change with age, circumstances? Is our search and expectation of happiness a shadow or implied pressure preventing us from experiencing it?

I hope that the artwork I have created for this exhibition touches the viewer and promotes consideration of the value of all members in our communities, how we can be manipulated by what we see in the media, how important consideration and inclusion is to the foundation of happiness amongst a few matters presented.

Owen Renfrey

A Special Day?

A Poem by Owen Renfrey

I really hope this is a special day
The mundane, the ordinary -
Come what may
Gives a vista of mainly grey.

For everyone to enjoy
Would be my prayer today
I hope for mirth and merriment
To warm everyone's heart, and

For mankind really needs to show
Kindness towards one another
No disdain.

A beacon of light, there will show
Us the right way.

How useful was this information?