Cards of support
Safer Community provides services to La Trobe students who experience complex and traumatic circumstances during their studies, including mental health crises, sexual assault, and family violence.
To build on the existing support we can offer students, Safer Community (formally Safer Community) collaborated with the Visual Art program in Bendigo to develop postcard messages, featuring student artwork, that offers positive messages such as strength, hope, self-love, taking one day at a time, and overcoming obstacles to empower students in coping, recovery and healing.
Safer Community (formally Safer Community) hosted an exhibition at the Bendigo Library on the 12th September 2019 to launch the cards. The cards will be displayed at the Bundoora campus Library for a short time, and are shown below.
If you would like to find out more about this project, about Safer Community, or would like to seek support if you are affected by a traumatic experience please feel free to contact us.
"You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may harm me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I'll rise..."
I think courage with rising up against challenges and pushing through adversity, it's a kind of positive energy that you can call up even when you're afraid. I chose a kingfisher flying out of the water because it seems both hopeful and powerful - how I feel when I do something that scares me and do it well. The kingfisher is clever, vibrant but still little.
Any kind of courage that gets you through is important, even if it's just a little bit of hope and a little bit of strength
Image Credits: Kelsey MacDonald, Visual Arts Bendigo
"Where there is no struggle, there is no strength. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand back up taller than you ever were."
My inspiration for my artwork depicting "strength" came from multiple sources. The first was the tarot card for strength which includes a woman and a lion, with the woman looking calm and gentle, yet dominant over the lion.
Secondly, the Hindu goddess Durga who is the warrior goddess, often depicted with a lion, whose mythology centers around combating evils and demonic forces that threaten peace, prosperity and dharma of the good.
I wanted to create a piece that embodied the significance and strength of a lion whilst also depicting a character that was race-less, gender-less and strong, that anyone can identify with. No matter how bad things get, you can overcome your hardships and grow stronger and more resilient because of it, and without the bad you cannot recognize the good.
Image Credits: Ashleigh Lowry, Visual Arts Bendigo
"Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love"
It is a common aphorism we learn as children: "treat others as you would treat yourself". Most of us do not beat up, bully and abuse other people. Yet this is exactly how we will, at times, treat ourselves.
Art has the truly magical ability to convey a sensibility that is beyond words. I did not have any fixed aesthetic notions when making this painting, I was trying to compose a message. Safer Community has conceived a very beautiful idea with this project, that a compassionate token can be physically passed from one hand to another. I hoped with this image to communicate the force of love, and self-respect, and gentleness.
Image Credits: Rachel Claire, Visual Arts Bendigo
"There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live"
The idea of growth, mindful growth in the sense of interconnected focus points of the mind; it's environment, it's senses and surroundings.
The primary understanding in mindfulness and the inspiration behind the art is to develop, grow and maintain a consistent mindful practice in daily life to better the well-being of the individual and landscape of the psyche unhealthy chaos.
Image Credits: Abigail Bayliss-O'Dowd & Lance Oliver, Visual Arts Bendigo
"There's power in knowing what's in and what's out of your control. Focus only on the things that really matter, that you can control, and leave what you can't. That's where your power is."
In creating this image, I was inspired by many of the other quotes, they started me thinking about the little, powerful things in life. While walking through Fryers Forest pondering this project I found myself looking at the tiny doughnut shaped pile of earth around the nest entrance of the Camponotus Nocturnus ant. The idea that each piece of dirt was once carried in the jaws of this ant stopped me in my tracks with its beauty and power.
This night active ant has an essential symbiotic relationship with many local plants and butterflies, tending butterfly larvae in its nests with the sweet nectar produced by a class of worker ant known as the honey pot ant.
Perhaps my most pressing thought is that we humans have a power in knowing our own part in deep time and the ecosystem, in recognizing the fragile balance of nature, our choice to notice it, and protect it. There is much we can learn from the little things, not least the time to reflect and allow nature's gifts to inspire our own healing and inner powers of acceptance, love and belonging.
Image Credits: Helena J Read, Visual Arts Bendigo
"On your worst days the world can seem discouraging. But don't let this stop you from discovering the beauty in the small things - feeling the sun on your skin, sitting by a fire, starry nights. Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life. When you look back you will realize it is the small moments that made you feel alive."
I was so excited to be gifted the theme "Little Moments" because I agree entirely that it is the small moments that have always made me feel most alive.
I remember gazing at the stars late at night from my bedroom window when I should have been sleeping as a young child and when the smell of jasmine would break out across the backyard to tell me spring was on the way.
In our society, there is such a focus on the big things: grades, graduations, and jobs, but with this focus comes a pressure to succeed and the immense fear of failure in the absence of such as events. As lucky as I know I am to be able to reach some of these goals, these big moments are few and far between; it's the little moments that are in every day that need more attention because these are the moments that make us feel alive.
Since I was about 10 I have kept a box to store traces of my own little moments. Notes and handwritten recipes from my grandmother, Polaroids, pressed flowers, train tickets and even a receipt for the best pizza I ever ate in Bologna (not that I need to look at it to remember the Neapolitan sauce!!). I wanted to replicate such a collection for the Little Moments card. I hope that when others see it, it reminds them of all of their own special times and encourages a shift in focus to recognizing how often they happen, every day.
Image Credits: Caitlin Royce, Visual Arts Bendigo