FORMATION – a creative collaboration between The Dax Centre and Arts Access Victoria

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7th October 2019

FORMATION opens this Thursday the 10th of October at The Dax Centre in Melbourne and will run until 13th December. 

Celebrating over sixty years of expression and creativity, this free-entry exhibition explores the work of six contemporary artists supported by Arts Access Victoria alongside art from the Cunningham Dax Collection.

Ms Harriet Shing MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health will officially open the exhibition on Wednesday 6 November from 6-8pm at The Dax Centre. All are welcome for this free public event.

Formation is a creative collaboration between Arts Access Victoria and The Dax Centre, with artwork being created by Arts Access in direct response to The Cunningham Dax Collection.

Art exhibited includes painting on canvas, watercolour, drawing, objects, glasswork, mural and textiles. The pieces displayed span over 60 years of art making with one of the earliest textile pieces being from the early 1950’s. Due to their fragility it is rare for these older pieces to be exhibited in the gallery and they cannot be shared or reproduced digitally.

Works will be available for purchase by a number of artists supported by Arts Access Victoria including Guler Altunbas, Laurence Flegg, Jac Gelbert, Paul Henry, Adam Knapper, John Puli.

“Arts Access Victoria is thrilled to be coming together with the Dax Centre in our first creative collaboration. We are extremely proud to be associated with the six extraordinary artists whose work is being featured as part of the FORMATION exhibition,” says Caroline Bowditch, CEO of Arts Access Victoria.

Arts Access Victoria is a nationally renowned organisation dedicated to putting equality at the centre of the arts. They empower artists with lived experience to create work that challenges and extends notions of who is an artist, what is art and for whom is it made.

The Cunningham Dax Collection includes works created at Victoria’s psychiatric hospitals between the 1960’s and the 1980’s. The Collection is the only one of its kind and size in Australia and one of only four in the world.

At The Dax Centre, starting conversations about mental health issues to break down stigma and increase understanding and empathy is core to their mission. The Cunningham Dax Collection – includes more than 16,000 artistic works produced by people with a lived experience of mental health issues or psychological trauma.

Charmaine Smith, Director of The Dax Centre says “We are excited to be collaborating with Arts Access Victoria for the first time. This co-curated exhibition, will bring together contemporary artists and works from the significant Cunningham Dax Collection to explore how creativity is used to express our emotions and bring form to our feelings.”

Last year, The Dax Centre became part of SANE, a national mental health charity, thanks to an investment of $1.19 million from the Victorian Government.  The two organisations have shared a common goal to reduce stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues for more than three decades.

Admission to FORMATION is free. For more information visit

Opening hours: October 10th through to December 13th, every Wednesday – Friday, 12-5pm. Our launch event will be held on Wednesday 6th November.

Anyone looking for information, support and guidance from mental health professionals can contact the SANE Help Centre on 1800 187 263 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from 10am-10pm AEST.  For anyone in crisis, call:

  •       Lifeline 13 11 14
  •       Suicide Call Back Line 1800 659 467
  •       Mensline 1300 789 978
  •       KidsHelpline 1800 551 800


The Dax Centre is a leader in the use of art to raise awareness and reduce stigma towards mental health issues.  Through their exhibitions and education programs they seek to engage, inform and encourage community connections and conversations about mental health.

The centre is named after Dr Eric Cunningham Dax AO, and his pioneering work to develop mental health care and improve the quality of live for those living with mental illness.

SANE is a national mental health charity that aims to make a real difference. We work to support four million Australians affected by complex mental health issues including schizophrenia, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression and anxiety.

To request an interview with the Director of The Dax Centre, Charmaine Smith please contact:

Senior Media and PR Advisor at SANE
Phone: 0439 708 381
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last updated: 29 October 2019

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