What is The Dax Centre
Who is Dr Dax and what is The Cunningham Dax Collection?
Whilst the Collection is typically perceived to house historic materials drawn from Victorian institutions from the 1950s to the 1980s, approximately half of the objects within the Collection actually comprise works of art produced by contemporary Australian artists, who have had an experience of mental illness or psychological trauma.
DAVID APOSTOL: First encounters with art making- high school probably.
I was going through a lot of, um, a lot of problems and stuff like that; and I found it was a really great way to express all that, and kind of, I guess, make me feel a little bit better.
DAX SPEAKER: The Dax Centre is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes mental health and well being through art and creativity.
We manage and house the Cunningham Dax collection, which is a collection of over fifteen thousand artworks created by people with an experience of mental illness or trauma.
By viewing these artworks, audiences are able to connect feelings and emotions expressed in the works, and they might be able to see, uh, similarities with what they themselves might be going through at the time.
KALLENA KUCERS: These are experiences that anyone could be having and they can be bloody tough.
So I started, beginning to express these things visually.
I had to begin to address things that get called mental health issues, that I had myself.
GRAEME DOYLE: He said he is an intense, obsessive, introspective, and kaleidoscopic personality.
To the more academic, uncritical, and uninformed of us, his work is at times repulsive.
I’ve got a, I think, almost, fierce devotion to the arts.
I need my art, my work.
It’s the way I function.
That’s the negative side- that I’m expressing the way I feel.
But I’m also a very happy chappy, I’m not only a misery guts; I really enjoy my life.
DAVID APOSTOL: Having that outlet is great, and having a platform to show all that work is brilliant.
I think a lot of people go through these sorts of things, they don’t say anything.
Helps people as well you know, to see someone else express something like that- that’s hard to express.
KALLENA KUCERS: I find it fascinating to hear, um, what other people see or sense or feel, and what their response is to some of these works, because yeah, I always learn something new.
I could almost even say, I learn something new about myself.
GRAEME DOYLE: It’s an outsider art gallery and, concern, and.
It’s where I fit in.
The level of awareness that’s pumped into community, into young people; you know, it’s high because of The Dax Centre.
>>DAVID APOSTOL: It raises awareness.
What is The Dax Centre
History of The Dax Centre
The Art of Psychiatry
Trees and Their Meaning
The Art of Ekphrasis
The Stigma of Mental Illness - Donna Lawrence
The Artist as Outsider
The Art of Reflection
Art in a Therapeutic Context Today
Story education resources
Education Making Sense: Art and Mental Health Education Kit
This Education Resource links to relevant learning outcomes for:
- VCE Psychology (Units 1 – 4),
- VCE Health and Human Development (Units 1-2),
- Health and Physical Education: Health and Promotion, AusVELS levels 8 – 10.
- Other areas that may be relevant are: VCE Art, VCE Studio Arts, Visual Arts AusVELS levels 8 – 10, Humanities (History) AusVELS level 10.