Artworks created by The Benevolent Society Early Childhood Approach clients, in partnership with Carers Queensland – LAC Partner in the Community, are set to be featured as part of a special exhibition at the Inala Art Gallery, a south-west suburb of Brisbane, Queensland. 

The International Day of People with Disability Art Exhibition will be open to the public, from Friday 8 December until Friday 22 December. 

Lily and her father, Matthew
Image: Lily and her father, Matthew

Each year on 3 December, International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is observed to promote community awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability. With around one in six (18 per cent) Australians (4.4 million) identifying as having a disability, representation is crucial. 

The exhibition will feature a total of 64 artworks, created by artists who identify as having a disability, aged between three to 50. Among these talented artists, two clients from The Benevolent Society, with the support of their families, will be showcasing their painting and ceramic artworks.

Kelly Raedler, Team Leader at The Benevolent Society Early Childhood Approach across Moreton Bay Brisbane, Logan and Redlands, said: “We have extremely talented people in our community that identify as having a disability. Through this exhibition, we wanted to create a space for people to display their art whilst celebrating and bringing awareness to the creativity, talent, stories and achievement of the artists though a collective display.”

Teresa Kimm, Early Childhood Approach Inclusion Officer and lead organiser of the exhibition, added: “Inala Art Gallery is a known safe, diverse, and inclusive place that run weekly drop-in art classes for children with developmental delays and disabilities to self-express. The gallery is working hard to build a community of togetherness and understanding to break down stigmas around disability. It was the perfect location to hold this exhibition.”

In the lead-up to the public opening of the exhibition on Friday 8 December, a private opening was held on Monday 4 December for artists to celebrate their artistic and creative achievements. This was organised to provide the artists and their guests with an inclusive, welcoming, and accessible opening for those who may have sensory concerns, become overwhelmed with crowds, or have other barriers to attending the public opening.

For the team at The Benevolent Society Early Childhood Approach, the exhibition marks the first time they have brought an experience like this to life. Looking ahead, the team have ambitions to organise additional exhibitions showcasing the artistic talents of those who identify as having a disability.

“I hope that from this first exhibition, those identifying with a disability will be feel safe and comfortable to showcase their arts,” Kelly says. “The world needs diversity; it needs neurodiversity, it needs to accept and embrace all people. If we make the world more accessible for those with a disability, we make it more accessible for everyone.”

Linh Nguyen, Early Childhood Approach Service Support Coordinator and President of the Inala Art Gallery added: “For the next 12 months, the Inala Art Gallery would love to see more artists with disabilities showcase their arts whether through performance, digital or painting.”

The International Day of People with Disability Art Exhibition will be open to the public, from Friday 8 December at 10:00AM. It will be running until Friday 22 December.

To access the NDIS Early Childhood Approach (ECA) program if you reside in the following regions Logan City, Redlands City, Brisbane City and Moreton Bay Regional Council areas, contact The Benevolent Society on 1300 00 ECEI (3234). For anyone outside of this region, you can find additional information on NDIS Partners in the Community in your area on the NDIS website.

Carers Queensland – LAC Partner in the Community can be contacted via phone on 1300 999 636 and via email at [email protected]