Hans Leisinger, with one of the works of the Acmena art display on show under the banner Junagan at Pullen?s centre.
Hans Leisinger, with one of the works of the Acmena art display on show under the banner Junagan at Pullen?s centre.

The art of youth on show

By JULIA ILES

YESTERDAY an engaging art exhibition was opened as part of a strategy to utilise the talents of Induna ETU juvenile detainees.

Entitled Junagan, the artwork incorporates elements of indigenous art and features native animals including dugongs and turtles.

"Kids come in really angry and upset, you give them a paint brush and it's like giving them valium as it quiets and calms them," Induna art teacher, Greig, said.

"The art provides a connection to their culture and works to release negative energy and helps them to heal."

He has worked at the facility since the program's inception six years ago.

One young artist learnt traditional art skills from his uncle, and now paints to relax.

"It gives me time to think and clear my head," he said.

"Before I start I kick back, read a book, look at images and then do my own interpretation."

There is a possibility he will pursue art professionally but said he'll 'see what happens'.

Another artist also uses art to relax and follows the process of drafting copies in his room before transferring them onto canvas.

Around 30 people attended the opening, including the Clarence Valley Mayor, Ian Tiley, and youth program trainer Hans Leisinger.

"The exhibit is part of our 'skills for life' program, and helps to build a foundation once they are released into the community," Mr Leisinger said.

"The schooling program at the centre is brilliant and it syphons out talents, and art is one of them."

The artworks are for sale and all proceeds go to detainees on their release.

Cr Tiley said: "The exhibition highlights a commitment to maintaining a strong connection with their culture."

He said it was an opportunity for positive links in the community and was a chance to dispel the sometime negative images of the past.

The young men have a limited budget so often paint on whatever materials are available, including spare doors.

This is the third exhibition, in previous years there have been displays in Maclean and South Grafton.

Junagan is on display at Pullen Centre gallery Prince St, Grafton.



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