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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 2022

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Farewell Sue Shapland | Pain and pain management series: Part 5 | MSWA's Employment Support Service | Tips for staying motivated over winter

Are there ways your art

Are there ways your art and neurological condition intertwine? I know I never would have painted if I had ‘normal’ health. I wouldn't have been able to sit still with it for so long!!! I would have preferred to do one hundred other things. I am definitely NOT going to say this was ‘meant to be’ or ‘all worked out’. It was terrible, it sucked. What I do know is, I am glad I found art. It helped me to survive mentally (and financially). I took something difficult in my life and I created, in spite of it all. And I am very grateful for all those who supported me in this in various ways. I suspect most of them never knew how much I needed it. What has art given you? When I first started painting, I liked that people asked me about my art instead of my health or showed me pictures of cool moths they found (and collected dead ones for me – haha!). Art also gave me more connection to community through exhibitions and online via social media with collectors, creators and nature lovers all around the world. This gave me a sense of extended community when I was often stuck at home on my own. It also gave me some escape from reality and helped me cope with my symptoms. Spending a lot of time in hospitals and waiting rooms also gave me a huge appreciation for what a bit of art and colour can do to your mood in a space. What would you share with fellow Bulletin readers about creativity? I loved a recent quote from famous art critic, Jerry Saltz. He said, “Artists; you do know, don't you, that your mistakes are your style”. To me, I apply this to disability: if you have limitations that impact how you do something, maybe try to work with them and make them part of your work and your style. There are a million ways to be creative, and a million niches or ways to channel your interests, insights, need for self-expression or to have a voice within this. Painting, drawing, sculpture, music, singing, crafts, textiles, dance, theatre, writing, poetry, flavours, scents, fashion… You don't need to be ‘good’ at something. Creativity is a process of discovery. You can be as conventional and traditional, or unconventional as you want. Experiment widely or find a niche. Creativity can also be a way to engage in something you maybe can't do in the same form anymore. It could be a social connection, a connection to your passions, or both. Maybe there’s something you feel strongly about where you want to share your insights, communicate and make your voice heard. Make it what you need. I believe humans are innately creative and our struggle for survival and self-understanding is a critical part of this process – look at the massive scope of art and creativity in all forms across culture and human history! We are a part of that and it’s no different in ‘modern times’, we just have more art forms and more possibilities for expression available to us. Do you have a career highlight? I won a Great Southern Art Award in 2017 for one of my ‘scale’ pieces. As part of this, I got a fully supported exhibition by the City of Albany. I also had the opportunity to have a mentor for the duration of the exhibition, Paul Moncrieff. (The mentorship was one of 50 regional arts mentorships undertaken thanks to the ground-breaking Regional Arts Partnership Program by the State Government / Country Arts WA). I based the exhibition on huge moths – all local species. Then this went on tour around regional WA. Describe your studio space. I am lucky there is a big shed in this current rental house. I sectioned it off with a drop sheet and a shelving unit. I painted MDF boards with white paint and, with help, stuck them up to one wall. It does get pretty hot and cold being uninsulated, which affects my health, so I can't always work out there. In which case I get computer admin done or can make small things at the kitchen table, but this is more limited due to the mess factor. I finally got my power chair last week so it should make a huge difference in how long I can work. I'm really looking forward to having a space to work in that is a bit easier for me health-wise in the future. My two dogs, Jazz and Django, and my little parrot Opal [pictured above] are constant companions! 14

THANK YOU ROS HARMAN After 18 years on the MSWA Board, with 18 months of those as President, Ros Harman has announced her resignation from the Board and the position of President. During her time on the Board, Ros, who has also been a Client of MSWA for 34 years, has contributed significantly to our Purpose of empowering people with neurological conditions to live their best lives. The Board and the organisation thank Ros for her service and contribution and wish her very well for the future as she focuses on her family and her health. Mr Horst Bemmerl, MSWA Board Director, steps in as acting President until further notice. THANK YOU FROM THE COMMUNITY SUPPORT TEAM! Like many organisations across Perth dealing with the implications of COVID-19, we understand there has been a lot of disruption to our services. We would like to say a big thank you for your patience as we navigate through unprecedented times – we have received a great deal of support and understanding from you. There has been a lot going on behind the scenes – all of our staff have been trained how to correctly ‘don and doff’ full PPE, including gowns, masks, glasses, face shields and gloves. We have been issuing supplies of regular PPE – all to keep our staff and Clients as safe as possible. For the past three months we have been conducting ‘RAT surveillance’ – we are regularly supplying our staff with stocks of rapid antigen tests and they have been testing and recording the result every three days. Our staff have been very committed to this, which has been a key COVID-19 management strategy for our team. DENISE VOGELS COMMUNITY TEAM LEADER NORTH 15

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