Studio Dax welcomes inaugural show, Human First? by artist, Güler Altunbas

  • Share

Media release: 3 May 2021

Güler Altunbas’ Human First? exhibition is disability-led storytelling, through the medium of digital art. 

The inaugural show of Studio Dax, at The Dax Centre, Parkville opens on Thursday May 6, and examines the artistic experience of people who identify as D/deaf and disabled, chronically ill, neurodiverse, or who have lived experience of mental health issues.  

Melbourne-based artist, Güler Altunbas, aims to bring together a diverse cross-section of other art-makers to demonstrate the richness in cultures within the disability community.  

Human First? pairs video interviews with digital portraits to tell the stories of ten D/deaf and disabled artists. 

The presentation of Human First? also demonstrates Altunbas’ own artistic process while each artist discusses their unique practice. 

The artist animates the creation of each portrait, which is integrated into interview videos, allowing audience members to witness the artistic direction that Altunbas takes, relative to the discussion taking place. 

Altunbas says Human First? showcases the talent in the disabled art scene, and uncovers the difficulties faced by the disability sector when attempting to enter the ‘mainstream’ art world.   

“Art is an equaliser, it can empower people, and it has the ability to communicate,” she says.  

“Disabled artists are forgotten and remain invisible in the equation of the current COVID_19 pandemic, which has made it even more compelling to tell their stories.  

“This oral history needs to be documented and factored in to show the real costs – socially and politically – and still be a personal and aesthetic undertaking. 

“These are compelling stories that need to be told and to be heard, if they remain hidden then we are all poorer as a consequence.” 

Altunbas has also prioritised accessibility, the tangible exhibition at the Dax Centre in Parkville is accompanied with accessible digital platforms on both a dedicated website, and The Dax Centre’s website.  

The artist hopes to create a network and foster a sense of belonging which, she believes, many members of the disability community are in need of. 

“I see accessibility as a creative challenge, rather than a hurdle. Presenting this physically as well as online allows me to show the work in a variety of formats that will meet the access needs of as many people as possible, and increase the diversity of the audience,” she said.  

“I, and the entire team at The Dax Centre, are excited and proud to be working with Güler on her Human First? exhibition.  We have collaborated with Güler previously on group shows, but to be a part of this compelling and important solo show is an exciting moment,” The Dax Centre Director, Charmaine Smith said.   

“Güler’s work is innovative and emotive. We believe in the power and strength of disability-led storytelling and we are honoured that Güler choose The Dax Centre as the gallery for this solo show.” 

Human First? Opening Night 
When: Thursday, May 6 (exhibition finishes on Sunday, June 27, 2021) 
Time: 6.00pm – 8.00pm 
Where: The Dax Centre, 30 Royal Parade, Parkville 
Media interested to attend opening night, can request a ticket via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Dax Centre Opening Hours 
Wednesday – Friday, 11.00am – 3.30pm 
Sunday - every last of the month, 12.00pm - 3.00pm 

30 Royal Parade, 
Kenneth Myer Building, University of Melbourne 
Parkville, 3010 
T: +61 3 9035 6610  


About the artist
Güler Altunbas is a Melbourne-based artist practicing in a variety of media: painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking and digital technologies. She has an extensive history as an advocate for the prevention of violence against women and children and successfully brings her personal lived experience to her art practice. Güler’s strong links to human rights and associated social and political issues continues to inform her contemporary art practice. 

About the Dax Centre
The Dax Centre provides artists with lived experience of mental health issues opportunities for creative expression while fostering social change by expanding the public’s awareness of mental illness and breaking down stigma through art. 
Founded in 2012, but with a history spanning back to the 1940s, The Dax Centre is the premier exhibition space and education centre of its kind in Melbourne. The Dax Centre is proud to support a diverse group of talented artists realise their creative dreams and break down stigma through our education and public programs. 
Through our exhibitions and educational programs we engage, inform and encourage conversations about mental health through art. 
The centre is named after Dr Eric Cunningham Dax AO, and his pioneering work to develop mental health care and improve the quality of life for those living with mental illness. The Cunningham Dax Collection is an important art collection of national significance and is on the Victorian Heritage Register. It is the only one of its type in Australia, and one of only four of its kind in the world. 
About SANE
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 artist, Güler Altunbas or The Dax Centre Director, Charmaine Smith, please contact: 
Jaimee Damon – Media Coordinator 
M: 0421 847 303 
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Last updated: 4 May 2021

Stay in touch

Never miss an important mental health update.

Please let us know your first name.
Please let us know your last name.
Please let us know your email address.
Please select at least one newsletter