Left OutBy Mila, 11 years
Imagine having no control over the people who enter and leave your life – whether from relocation, parental separation or death.
Mila has experienced all three.
Mila’s painting, Left out, depicts all the connections in her life. She notes that one circle is different from all the others – “it doesn’t have an orange dot inside, making it ‘left out.’”
Circus of ColourBy Amanda, 11 years
A difficult parental separation and numerous family law court battles left Amanda lost for words.
Through art at KidsXpress, Amanda found a new voice to help her express herself and her creativity, restoring her playfulness and enjoyment in simply being a kid.
FireworksBy Ryan, 10 years
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Most kids would say ‘I want to be just like my mum or dad.’ But what if that meant growing up thinking aggression and violence were ok?
These behavours were manifesting themselves in Ryan’s life as anger and fear. He began to alienate himself from everyone around him – even those that could help him.
Ryan painted ‘Fireworks’ to express how he feels when his anger explodes.
The Power of LoveBy Olivia, 9 years
What gets you through when you lose a loved one?
Olivia lost her dad suddenly a few years ago. She expresses her thoughts on how she has coped through her painting ‘The Power of Love’.
Morning RainbowBy Ruby, 6 years
What happens to someone when they die? Ruby’s dad died of lung cancer a year ago and to her it seemed a question with an obvious answer.
Adults may have complex beliefs and philosophies on the nature of life and death.
To a child the question is the same, but the answer is sometimes as simple as angels and rainbows.
LoveBy Alyssa, 9 years
What would it be like if you and your three siblings could no longer live with your mum and dad – it’s just too unsafe? Drugs, strangers in your home, violence and incarceration are all experiences you do not expect in a young life.
You and your siblings now live with your grandparents, and through family dinners, birthday parties and friends sleeping over, you are building a life of new experiences fitting for a child.
‘The love is still dark but there is a little brightness inside it,’ is how Alyssa describes her experiences in her image, titled ‘Love’.
Backyard Bee HiveBy Lucy, 9 years
Lucy’s life turned upside down in 2006 when her little sister sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident. Lucy has witnessed her sister go through many frightening medical procedures as her sister was in intensive care for 3 months. The families were all under significant stress and lived around the hospitals in temporary accommodation while her sister’s treatments were sought. Lucy suffers nightmares and is worried and protective of her sister, she becomes very anxious any time her sister has to go to hospital. To add to that trauma there has been an ongoing court case over the accident with media exposure.
Squiggly SkyBy Rebecca, 10 Years
Rebecca described herself as being anxious she would wring her hands and be very aware of sudden movements. Her 17 year old step sister has a borderline personality disorder which causes her sister to have unpredictable behaviour in the home, often yelling and becoming aggressive towards Rebecca and her parents. Rebecca indicated that she is scared of her sister although at the same time she loves her and wants to be accepted by her. After finishing KidsXpress Rebecca thought that she had gained some strategies to deal with her sister which makes her feel less anxious.
Squiggly Sky represents a safe place Rebecca has created in her visualisation exercises at KidsXpress, a place where she can feel safe and let go of her anxiety, allowing her to breathe and feel peaceful and calm.
Hampster HotelBy Lola, 7 Years
Lola was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 4 years old and then underwent 2 years of chemotherapy. She became anxious and appeared to suppress all her emotions. At various times through treatment she would have nightmares. When she came to KidsXpress she told us she wanted help to be brave. Lola loves animals and she painted ‘The Hamster Hotel’ with the hope of one day owning her own hamsters.
The Rabbit HoleBy Jessica, 11 Years
Jessica’s older brother has mental health issues. He self harms by cutting his arms with knives, has attempted suicide on more than one occasion and is frequently aggressive at home. Jessica has been witness to all these behaviours and is both worried about him as well as being frightened of him. Her anxiety is so great that she can’t concentrate in school or complete her projects, she has nightmares, she feels anxious when she doesn’t know what to expect and she worries disproportionately about world events and news of anyone being upset. Jessica felt it was disloyal to speak of her concerns and would bottle it up and then explode, causing her parents to wonder why. They were so busy trying to help their son that Jessica was often left on her own to deal with all her terrifying thoughts and worries. Falling down ‘The Rabbit Hole’ is how she feels her life is when she is overcome with anxieties.
SwellBy Georgia, 11 Years
Georgia was referred due to difficulty making and keeping friends. She tended to make poor choices and over react when faced with social conflict. She herself indicated that she would like help to control her feelings and at the end of KidsXpress said she had realized the effect she was having on people.
My Faraway PlaceBy Emma, 10 Years
Emma’s father was diagnosed with motor neuron disease when Emma was 5 years old; he has progressively lost his gross and fine motor skills. He has been bed ridden and reliant on others for all his personal care and has been expected to pass away for a year now. Emma’s mum has explained to her that he is at the end of his life and they have decided to care for him at home instead of in a hospice. Emma is devastated by the deterioration of her father she is very close to him and can remember playing with him before his illness took over. Her younger brother never knew his father when he could walk or care for himself. Emma’s picture ‘Faraway Place’ is an image she had seen on a computer game, she liked it because in the game it was the characters secret place that they could go to whenever they wanted to be alone to think.
A Day at the BeachBy Rebecca, 10 Years
Rebecca described her self as being anxious she would wring her hands and be very aware of sudden movements. Her 17 year old step sister has a borderline personality disorder which causes her sister to have unpredictable behaviour in the home, often yelling and becoming aggressive towards Rebecca and her parents. Rebecca indicated that she is scared of her sister although at the same time she loves her and wants to be accepted by her. After finishing KidsXpress Rebecca thought that she had gained some strategies to deal with her sister which makes her feel less anxious.
No ClueBy Keeley, 8 Years
Keeley’s father was diagnosed with motor neuron disease when she was very young. He is reliant on others for all his personal care and has been expected to pass away for a year now. Keeley acknowledged that her father’s health is deteriorating but did not view this as a particularly difficult thing for her as it is the way she has always known him. Keeley’s mum has explained that he is at the end of his life and they have decided to care for him at home instead of in a hospice. Keeley loved expressing herself through art and often found that easier than speaking about her feelings.
Rainbow GeckoBy Sean, 9 Years
Sean was referred due to anxiety and having been severely bullied at school leading to difficulties interacting with peers. Despite identifying anger and an inability to calm himself as the things he’d like to change, he was generally the voice of reason within the group, trying to explain difficult things to peers and often putting the needs of others ahead of his own. Art seemed to be the place that he could relax and concentrate. His life at home was very chaotic and he would often talk about adults getting drunk and falling over. In talking about the ‘Rainbow Gecko’ he said it’s a picture of himself looking out the window from inside his room, too anxious to go outside yet able to see what he is missing.
ExcitementBy Cara, 8 Years
Dad passed away 2 years ago Cara had not spoken a word about this although she referred to her father who liked to spend time in the garden. The images of gardens in Cara’s art creations grew however she made no further direct verbal reference to her father.
The Happy FrogBy Athena, 7 Years
Athena’s parents divorced when she was 2 she lives with her mother and sibling. She sees her dad on weekends who is remarried and has other children. Athena would regularly talk about her step mother and step sisters calling her fat and ugly, in fact a lot of her stories had a Cinderella type feel. She was quite self conscious and regularly appeared to look sad and did not interact with the other children easily.