The making of an artist - how Maple's Perth client uses Art in her NDIS journey. - Maple Services
The making of an artist – how Maple’s Perth client uses Art in her NDIS journey.

The making of an artist – how Maple’s Perth client uses Art in her NDIS journey.

There are many healthy ways we as human beings express our emotions to those around us. Whilst common ways are through conversation and writing techniques, Maple Community Services has a very talented individual who utilises Art and Craft as an outlet in her NDIS journey.

We can easily describe Perth client Sally, as sweet, passionate, and strongly independent – always looking for opportunities to learn, grow, and stand on her own two feet. Her passion shows most in her love for sketching, drawing, and being out in the garden getting her hands dirty – oh, and going to Bunnings (we definitely feel like this is a hobby nowadays).

Sally has mobility impediments and was diagnosed with a hearing impairment in her late 20s. Having started her family around this time as well, Sally found adjusting to this new norm with the added complexity of toddlers running around, quite a big challenge for her personally.

It pains us to recount Sally’s stories of being turned away from large companies and corporations in her younger days because of her disability and being told that she was better off getting a pension than looking for temporary work. This did not only affect Sally in the moment, but had a lasting impact on her outlook and confidence of finding part-time work into the future.

From here, Sally sought to expand upon her education, however after having enrolled to a Certificate III in Business Administration course with TAFE NSW, was unable to complete her studies due to an audio module which warded off Sally’s graduation. Following this, she secured a temporary job within the retail industry.

Sally's artwork. Acrylic Paint.

This is where her love of painting was born. Sally’s painting journey started just a year before she began with the NDIS. After a former colleague suggested she try her hand in the creative arts arena, Sally bought cheap pencils and started to enjoy not only the activity but the emotions she associated with it as well. As a self-taught artist, she continued to challenge herself, developing her skillset, and enjoying this new unlocked side of creativity.

“Cooking used to be my thing, but I can only eat so much … I paint to feel.” – Sally.

Painting serves as a form of mental release for Sally, she’s able to make this engrossed time in her artwork as time for herself, with no distractions. Time almost always gets away, and even forgets about eating sometimes!

Throughout the years, Sally has found what methods and techniques work for her, noting that she only paints before 2pm to utilise natural sunlight, and prefers acrylic paints to oil paints as it’s easier to paint with, faster to dry, and much easier to clean up using water. Oil paints are messy, slower to dry and need turpentine to clean up the brushes (thanks for saving us the hassle, Sally!)

Sally's artwork, 'The Boab'. Acrylic Paint.

Sally’s first art exhibition was her artwork, The Boab, at the City of Gosnells’ Art Awards – where she attended the opening day with her Maple support worker in hand.

‘The Boab’ focuses on the history and uniqueness of the Kimberly, expressing her happiness that the rains were coming with great attention to detail. Sally hones on images that make her feel something and explores how she can express that in this piece.

Sally has already begun working on another piece hoping to exhibit again at the Ellenbrook Art Award 2022.

“It isn’t about getting an award or selling anything, it’s about what pleases the person.” -Sally.

Sally's work in progress, Untitled. Acrylic Paint.

Amongst her personal goals such as attaining hearing aids, becoming closer to bi-aural hearing, and planting native plants in her front garden, she has plenty of dreams in place for her art:

  • Become a member of the Pastels Society and attend their sessions to learn how others approach situations.
  • Place her artwork in many different exhibitions, even global in the Ellis House Gallery.

Like many people who work in or are immersed within the disability industry, we are continually saddened by the all-too-often displays of exclusion and discrimination towards people with disability. In Sally’s situation, however, we are beyond proud of her and her thirst for achievement and a better life over the years.

It is Sally’s tenacity, drive for independence, and devotion to her art education that makes the staff here at Maple in awe of her and her achievements. 

Keep an eye out for Sally over the coming years – we can feel it in our waters that the goal of a display at Ellis House Gallery is on the horizon.