The collection comprises more than 1400 pieces, created over many years by patients at the former Larundel Psychiatric Hospital in MacLeod, a site that is now part of La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus.
The donation is the result of the dedicated work of a team at Neami National, which has been the custodian of the artworks since the closure of Larundel in the 1990s.
Regional Manager for Neami, Northern Victoria, Wendy Slinger, said she was delighted the work was returning to “the locality of its inception”.
“The Larundel artwork is the last tangible record of a unique art program. We look forward to the work being made public, the history of mental health services being remembered and the artists celebrated,” Ms Slinger said.
La Trobe Vice Chancellor Professor John Dewar said La Trobe was committed to preserving the works for the benefit of future communities.
“The significance of this collection lies not only in its historical connection to the very fabric of our campus at Bundoora, but also its recognised value to our core business of teaching and learning – not least within our nationally recognised Art Therapy program,” Professor Dewar said.
Dr Patricia Fenner, Senior Lecturer and Co-ordinator of the Master of Art Therapy program at La Trobe also welcomed the donation.
“It is fitting and an honour to have these works in our collection to be housed, viewed and researched here,” Dr Fenner said.
La Trobe University Masters by Research candidate and former Neami Splash Studio artist Rosemary O’Neill will build on her research and the extensive cataloguing she has already undertaken on the collection at La Trobe this year.
“The donation is a kind of coming home of the works and La Trobe’s acceptance constitutes a significant recognition of the artists who created them,” Ms O’Neill said.
Media Contact Anastasia Salamastrakis 0428 195 464
Image: Unknown Artist (n.d.), acrylic paint on paper. Work exhibited in “Inside – Out: A Survey of the Collections of Neami Splash Art Studio”, October 2014, at Splash Art Studio