STIGMA: dismantled, revealed – a bold new art exhibition at The Dax Centre focussed on mental health awareness and stigma reduction

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The Dax Centre is preparing to launch a new exhibition in its gallery that will showcase a wide variety of artworks that have never been seen before, to raise awareness and reduce stigma towards mental health issues.

STIGMA: dismantled, revealed will open on Friday 15th February at The Dax Centre in Melbourne and will run until 7th June. This free-entry exhibition will display 66 pieces of artwork that have been exclusively curated by seven emerging and contemporary artists with a lived experience of mental health issues.

The exhibition will explore the stigma and stereotypes towards mental health issues that exist today and will convey the self-stigma experienced by those living with mental health issues, as explored by the artists through their creations.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a wide range of art including 3D sculptures, paintings, cartoon drawings, installations and weaving, created by exhibiting artists, Simon Crosbie, William Hawkins, Lucy Hotchin, Joanne Morgan, Cornelia Selovar and Kylie Steinhardt.

In a Dax Centre first, the exhibition will house a resident artist who will transform part of the gallery space into a woven installation. Visitors will be able to meet resident artist, Jessie Brooks-Dowsett, and work with her to co-create her woven masterpiece.

Jessie says art encourages curiosity in people and she is looking forward to visitors exploring their curiosity and contributing to her artwork.

‘My hope for this residency is to use the art making process to engage and enhance the curiosity of others. Weaving is a medium that enables us to engage our hands in rhythmic motion. By inviting the participation of others into this process, I see the potential to not only weave materials together, but to also weave experiences, time and narratives together,’ says Brooks-Dowsett.

Throughout the exhibition, The Dax Centre will also host a number of public programs including:

  • An Artist in Conversation (Thursday 28th February, 6-8pm), which will involve a panel and Q&A session with the artists who will share their experiences of stigma, self-expression and art making.
  • Community Sundays will take place on 17th and 24th March (11am-4pm) where visitors will have the chance to meet the artists, take part in art-making activities, enjoy live music from Artful Dodgers Studio and indulge in an afternoon tea.

Charmaine Smith, Director of The Dax Centre says it’s crucial that we continue to share stories about mental health to help people understand what living with a mental illness can feel like.

‘We are thrilled to share the work of these inspiring artists with the community in an effort to advance our understanding of mental health issues.

‘It is essential that we continue to share stories about mental health. It is through story that we trulyunderstand what living with mental health issues can feel like, and importantly, the detrimental impacts of stigma.

‘It may be impossible to ever truly know anyone’s whole story, but through the works exhibited in STIGMA: dismantled, revealed we begin to dismantle stigma, to take it apart piece by piece and as we do, the true beauty, the true stories of the artists will be revealed and stigma will not be as strong as it used to be,’ says Smith.

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 illness for more than three decades.

The Dax Centre acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and thanks exhibition sponsor, The Vizard Foundation.

Admission to STIGMA: dismantled, revealed and its public programs is free. For more information visit

Opening hours: Every Wednesday – Friday, 12-5pm and Sunday 17th and 24th March, 11am-4pm.

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 working to support four million Australians affected by complex mental illness 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 and resident artist, Jessie Brooks-Dowsett, please contact:

Lauren Redpath
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: 8 February 2019

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