Healing and growing through art

Two visual artists associated with Churches of Christ Housing Services presented their works at our Centrifuge event in July. Their artworks graced the walls in an exhibition, with attendees able to purchase the pieces.

Here, we find out more about the two artists.

Sharon Purcell

“Mending the tears” is how Sharon Purcell describes the meaning her art has for her.  

Sharon says her art is a visual representation of her life as an individual, mother and daughter and are about her life’s journey.

“They [the paintings] are a centre point for me. Telling me how I am going. A personal gauge and monitor as a human being,” Sharon said.

Sharon describes her inner response to a need for deeper personal expression.

“I am an Aboriginal. I should be able to put dot to paper. It is my heritage.

“My heritage is a heart culture. It is about the heart in man. Not what man can do or get.”

Sharon’s housing journey began with Churches of Christ seven years ago.  In recent years she has enjoyed stability, a rekindling of self-worth and a reconnection with herself and her family.

She enjoys life on the Gold Coast and reaches out for fellowship and support when she needs it.  Her housing journey has been a difficult one at times but these days, Sharon is very much ‘at home’ in all senses of the word.

Out of homelessness

Sharon found herself homeless in middle age.  She described her journey from “homelessness, to getting a house and making that a home” and the part that art has played in that journey.
“As a woman on my own, it was probably one of the most crushing experiences… with no one to nurture or support me,” Sharon said.

She was able to find a home seven years ago with Churches of Christ Housing Services.

“Once I closed my door [on my new home] I was safe.”

As her confidence grew with having her own home, she started buying painting supplies and getting back into her art.

One day, she was approached to do a painting for the new Housing Services office opening in Southport. Sharon said that this time was a turning point for her, finally feeling that she was safe.

“I felt my housing wasn’t insecure anymore. I started appreciating myself. I wasn’t frightened anymore,” she said. “Now I can paint because I have a home… I can leave it out if I want to. I don’t have to share and worry about someone coming into my home.”

John Doherty

John Doherty is a Brisbane-based artist, who has been engaging in community art groups and initiatives for over 15 years.

With a lived experience of schizophrenia, homelessness and marginalisation, John has found art to be a form of therapy and purpose.  

Recently, John successfully exhibited an extensive retrospective of works at Hope Street Café, an activity of Micah Projects.

John confessed that he will continue to paint and exhibit his art so long as he has a bit of paint and a brush in hand.  John has a distinct style of freely brushed colours in which you can see a strong influence from Impressionist artists such as Chagall and Cezanne—artists he refers to as heroes.

John’s paintings transform an internal psychological conversation into a whimsical landscape of religion, community and his love for film and music.  He adores Audrey Hepburn and often features her in paintings alongside his idol, Bob Dylan.

“I’ve got a huge collection of artwork at home, and try to paint daily. Art is very good for my health; it is very uplifting for the spirit and it works to communicate good vibes to people.”

“Painting is a very good thing to do. It keeps you in a state of peace”.

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Posted September 21, 2018 in Networking blog