Creative Connections has been holding annual exhibitions since 2007 and is a not-for-profit organisation faciliatated by a team of volunteers and supported by a number of community groups and individuals associated with the arts and disability services. The Exhibition presents artwork by people with disabilities who primarily create artwork for enjoyment or as part of their therapy. The artwork can range from raw, apparently random, brush strokes drawn directly from the sub conscious to deliberate use of composition, colour, shape and form. Accompanying each artwork is poetry specifically written to the artwork by poets who range from published, emerging poets to internationally renowned, eminent poets who are members of WA Poets Inc.
The organisers of Creative Connections aspire to create an exhibition where people are recognised for their ability and not their disability, where the creativity of disabled artists can be highlighted and the intense and unconfined artwork provides an avenue for inspiration for poets. Creative Connections sees the confluence of artist and poet as enabling the poet to discover inspiration and new interpretations of the abstract and conflict often encapsulated in the artwork of the disabled artist.
The Creative Connections Art & Poetry Exhibition promotes the diverse abilities and personalities of disabled people through their art. The intellectual and often physical disabilities of most of the artists involved in this Exhibition preclude them from many of the normal avenues of community access resulting in their artwork often not being accessible beyond immediate carers and family. As most of the artists are non-verbal, creating artworks may be their only means of communication. The Exhibition gives meaning, beyond therapy, for the artist and allows them to become involved in the general community.
Squeals of delight and smiles of sheer pleasure often result when artists see their artwork on display in a public forum. Continued participation results in a noticeable development and improved of the artists’ self-esteem and artistic ability. There also appears to be a desire by the artists to excel knowing that their artwork will be represented in the Exhibition. Knowing that the artwork will be publically viewed, carers develop a greater sense of encouragement when working with artists and an improved sense of achievement and job satisfaction extends through all those involved.