News & Events

Healing power of art on show as 60 first-time artists exhibit in Bankstown

in News
15 Oct 2018

Art therapy helps overcome alcohol/drug dependence, mental illness

With time, encouragement and an enthusiastic teacher, anyone can find their inner artist and paint, draw, sculpt or carve an artwork to be proud of… and even see it displayed in an art exhibition.

The artistic talents of sixty first-time exhibitors are on free public display at the Margot Hardy Gallery at Western Sydney University’s Bankstown Campus at Milperra from 12 October to 9 November.

The ‘Circuit Breaker’ exhibition features artworks by men and women doing art therapy as part of their treatment for alcohol and other drug problems and mental illness.

Clients of Odyssey House’s renowned residential rehabilitation program have created a diverse range of works painted or drawn on canvas, or crafted from clay, papier mâché and even Perspex. Many of the artworks use recycled or donated materials.

The exhibition highlights the ‘circuit-breaking’ effect treatment can have to interrupt the cycle of drug dependence, ‘reset’ people’s focus and redirect them onto the path to health and wellbeing.

Odyssey House NSW visual arts teacher Rachel Tiltin said art therapy has been an important part of treatment at Odyssey House for more than 20 years.

“Many clients have very little art experience prior to Odyssey House, and can often be resistant to the creative process. However, with a bit of time and encouragement they learn that art doesn’t have to be perfect and they can create something to be proud of,” Ms Tiltin said.

“The process itself and their growing sense of achievement boost clients’ self-belief and confidence and help them connect with their feelings and interact better with others. These are all important stepping stones to recovery as they rebuild their lives ‘from the inside out’.

“Each artwork in ‘Circuit Breaker’ reflects the artist’s ‘identity’ and life story before and/or after they became dependent on alcohol or other drugs. Everyone is delighted to have their work on show.”

Odyssey House’s programs help clients overcome drug dependence, deal with underlying personal issues, manage mental illness, develop coping strategies, learn practical life skills (e.g. parenting, anger management, job-seeking, communication skills), prevent relapse and access other support.

The Odyssey House residential rehabilitation program is based at Eagle Vale in south-western Sydney. Odyssey House also has eleven community-based treatment services around Sydney:

  • Central and Eastern Sydney: Redfern, Canterbury
  • South Western Sydney: Campbelltown, Fairfield, Bowral
  • Western Sydney: Blacktown, Doonside
  • Sydney North: Chatswood, Manly.

Call Odyssey House NSW on 1800 397 739 or visit

The Margot Hardy Gallery:

Media enquiries: Carol Moore, Moore PR: 02 9560 2826 | 0402 382 363 |