Twelve of our own budding artists are preparing for their masterpieces to be shared with the world on the 2021 covers of the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
The artworks created by oncology patients through the Children’s Cancer Centre art therapy program feature a range of mediums including photography, watercolour, resin, painting and collage.
Among the selected artworks, readers will be delighted by Ivy’s (10) ‘Super Ivy’ self-portrait featuring a magnificent red cape, and Aidan’s (5) bright painted landscape with trees and sunshine.
The art therapy program, which has been supporting patients through their treatment since 1995, provides children and their families with coping skills to assist them with the experience of their illness and treatment.
Art Therapist, Matilda Dawson, said the children were very excited to share their artworks which have been created at all different stages of the cancer journey.
“Art therapy is a place where the child becomes the boss and we become their art assistants. It’s a place where the child can be themselves, and they love the opportunity to create anything they can dream up and just be kids,” Matilda said.
“The kids are very excited that their artwork will be seen all over the world, and that they are now fully fledged artists as we have always told them they are!”
The program has many benefits and provides patients, their siblings and families with a space to reflect on their feelings, thoughts and experiences during hospitalisation.
“We aim to address the emotional, social, cognitive, cultural and spiritual needs of children through a person-centred approach and develop their self-expression and artist identity so they may feel a sense of mastery throughout their treatment,” Matilda said.
“I love to see how children grow and develop throughout their treatment. I often catch myself smiling, when you see a child in the flow of artmaking or creating something they didn’t think possible.
“We are given a privileged opportunity to witness the lives and experiences of the children we work with. We get to know them and their families, their interests, stories and humour.”
The first cover was published on December 16, 2020 and features now 18-year-old Sophie’s reflection of her treatment experience titled ‘Arrangement of pills.’
The Children’s Cancer Centre art therapy program is supported through philanthropic donations and is offered to both inpatients and outpatients undergoing treatment, their siblings and their families.