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Minda and Tutti Arts partner to launch 'Their Shadows in Us' exhibition

A group of highly-talented disabled artists wanting to better understand the way people with a disability lived before them have joined forces with some of South Australia’s most esteemed multi-media artists and taken a microscope to Minda’s 100 years+ history to create a visual and audio arts exhibition believed to be the first of its type in Australia.

Minda CEO, Cathy Miller, said Their Shadows in Us has allowed the Tutti artists to question their heritage and identity, and investigate how people with a disability lived in the past.  

“This is a really exciting interpretive exhibition which gives voice to some of the characters and behind the scenes figures who contributed greatly to Minda’s history by shedding light on the stories of many South Australians with a disability and their families,” Ms Miller said.

Initiated by Tutti’s Founder and Artistic Director, Ms Pat Rix, the exhibition has been more than three years in the planning and came about after a number of Tutti artists expressed interest in finding out more about older residents with intellectual disability living on Minda’s Brighton campus.

“While people with a learning disability are often the subject of research, this project has enabled interested Tutti artists to become researchers in their own right on a project of significant size and scale,” Ms Rix said.

“As a result our artists have been involved from the start as part of the creative research into the untold stories of people who lived and worked at Minda, discovering where they came from, how long they lived here and how they spent their time,” she said.

“The research team spent a great deal of time looking through historical records to better understand what life was like at Minda, before interviewing long term residents and staff to provide a more complete picture of the evolving social and political history of Minda.”

Exhibition Curator, Ms Melanie Fulton said many visual and performing artists have produced numerous works for the exhibition in collaboration with highly-regarded South Australian visual artists Laura Wills, Nina Rupena, Madison Bycroft and Sascha Budimski. In addition, writer Catherine Murphy led the research process and has written an accompanying catalogue essay.  

“This exhibition is an opportunity for the wider community to discover the untold stories of Minda, and in keeping with social reforms throughout the decades of the 20th Century, we found that many staff chipped away to improve the lives and conditions of young children and adults in an institutional setting considered progressive in its day,” Ms Fulton said. 

“Their Shadows In Us is an exhibition which interprets Minda’s past and present through visual, audio and tactile mediums to provide a unique visitor experience and a feast for the senses - I encourage people to experience the works and reflect on the very personal and insightful interpretations of these contemporary artists,” she said.

Their Shadows in Us will be held at the Flinders University City Gallery located at the State Library of South Australia on North Terrace from mid-December 2013 until mid-February 2014.

About Tutti Inc.

Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Tutti is a leading arts organisation with a national reputation for artistic excellence and social inclusion. The Tutti Visual and Performing Arts program in partnership with Minda enables school leavers and emerging artists with learning disability to participate in ongoing professional training across a range of artistic disciplines, while Tutti’s choral program brings people from all walks of life together to participate in large scale music-theatre and operatic productions. 

About Minda

Established in 1898, Minda is the largest non-government disability support organisation in South Australia that assists individuals with an intellectual disability to thrive in their local environments as valued members of their communities by offering residential and lifestyle services, employment and respite support.