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18 Aug 2016


SSI Member Spotlight: SydWest Multicultural Services

Sydwest’s innovative Art Therapy program involves seniors from across western Sydney.

The exhibition was the culmination of an art therapy program at SydWest designed to bring seniors together to explore art, break social isolation and enhance their overall wellbeing.

Funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, the 12-week pilot Living Active Life Program involved more than 40 participants across Greater Western Sydney. Participants were mostly from non-English speaking backgrounds and many took part with the support of interpreters.

The program also included some participants with vision and hearing impairments. The first session saw one visually impaired woman create art for the first time since losing her sight 20 years ago.

Other women, who had spent up to 20 years living in refugee camps, were able to use crayons, pencils and paints for the first time in their lives.

Some even credited the program with improving their mental and physical wellbeing.

SydWest Multicultural Services CEO Elfa Moraitakis said these were among many positive outcomes from the program, which had helped to bring together seniors to explore their creativity, create meaning from their art and break social isolation.

“Exploring such themes as eldership, community, the seasons, joy and life journeys, this creative program has revealed the power of art and the importance of creating human connections to people’s overall wellbeing,” Ms Moraitakis said.

Visit SydWest’s online Multicultural Seniors Art Therapy Exhibition, which showcases some of the processes and artworks from its innovative program.

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