3 SEPT 2019

A Window Into Their Soul

By Melisa Ng

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Dylan, a member at Jesus Club Jannali enjoying painting for Art Show.

Jannali Jesus Club was buzzing with activities tonight as members forayed into their first art-making session for the New Life Art Show. Members painted and decorated their canvases with bits of fabric, paper, and other shapes. Almost everyone got involved and those that didn’t also enjoy watching and just being around the action.

Dylan was particularly enjoying this opportunity as he drew shapes reminiscent of boats’ masks and the sea in hues of blue, yellow, and green. An artwork he later named the ‘Beach’, it incorporated his love of boats, the Sharks footy team and his favourite colour, blue. His mum, noticed his delight at the end of the night, sent a text to a leader at Jesus Club, saying, “The art night at Jesus Club was a big success. Dylan was very excited and pleased with himself!” 

Art-making is enjoyable for many people in this world and a useful medium for the expression of self and creativity. But for people with intellectual disabilities, art can be especially powerful in lending a means to share thoughts and feelings; they otherwise are unable to communicate.

Tom di Maria, director of Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California, compares the artwork of people with disabilities to have a window into the person. ”They may or may not have had language; they may or may not be able to communicate with me. But they are making this work, that is really a window into their soul.” And Gabrielle Mordy, artistic director of Studio A, a Sydney-based studio for artists living with intellectual disability, describes how art is used to communicate their experience of the world. “The work that these artists make very much reflects our rich experience, but it’s not coming through an intellectual way of thinking. It’s coming through different ways of experiencing the world”.

During her work with disability artists, Gabrielle noticed a transformation that art-making does to their sense of identity and their value of themselves. “Now, they will introduce themselves as artists,” Gabrielle was quoted as saying, ”You hear it from the families as well, like the expression of pride and the glow that the families have when they come to exhibitions and seeing the recognition that their sons and daughters are getting.”

This October, Jesus Club is holding our inaugural Art Show to the theme of New Life, to give our members a platform to showcase their creative and artistic talents. Everyone has had a lot of fun expressing themselves through painting, collage, sculpture, and more and many are looking forward to seeing their artwork on display for the first time!

We invite you to see New Life as depicted by our members and experience the responses to the love, joy, and comfort found in trusting Jesus. 

The New Life Art Show will be exhibiting between 9-12 October 2019, at St Mark’s Anglican Church Northbridge. Come see the inspirational artwork from 13 Jesus Clubs in Sydney and beyond. For more information and to get tickets to our exclusive High Tea Fundraiser, visit Art Show

Learn more about the work at Jesus Club

A place to Belong for People with Intellectual Disabilities

A Life Loving People Living WIth Disabilities

When Only God Is Enough


Brown, A.D. (2012, February 28). Psychological Benefits of Art Therapy. Retrieved from

Gebilagin, L. (2017, September 26). This social enterprise will challenge your perceptions of intellectual disability. Retrieved from

Great Big Story. (2019, May 14). Giving Artists With Disabilities a Space to Thrive. Retrieved from

How Art Therapy Helps People With Disabilities. (2012, July 23). Retrieved from

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