Life with chronic illness examined in new exhibition at CSU in Dubbo

24 JULY 2018

* New photographic exhibition at CSU in Dubbo from Wednesday 1 August to Friday 21 September * Exhibition explores physical and mental illness, and themes including chronic pain, isolation, anxiety and loss of identity * The images are storytelling tools to create an emotional impact to make others think about things that may not be commonplace in their livesA new photographic art exhibition at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Dubbo from Wednesday 1 August to late September explores the emotions and experiences of being a chronically ill child, teenager and adult.CSU nursing lecturer and researcher Associate Professor Rachel Rossiter in the CSU School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health will be the guest speaker at the exhibition opening at 6pm on Wednesday 1 August.Professor Rossiter, who is undertaking research for Parkinson’s NSW, said, “This visual chronicle follows the artistic maturing of emerging artist Mr Tyler Grace, and tackles both the seen and unseen impacts of chronic illness.“This ongoing photographic self-portrait series takes the viewer inside the often unbearable world experienced by him, as well as many others who experience chronic illness.”Mr Grace said, “This iteration of the exhibition also focuses on raising awareness for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), illnesses I suffer.“The images in this exhibition explore both physical and mental illness, and specific themes include, but are not limited to chronic pain, isolation, anxiety and loss of identity.“My aim for this exhibition is to not only tell my story, but for those stories to help those who don't suffer gain a small insight into what it can be like being chronically ill, and to also help others that do suffer with the topics covered realise that they aren’t alone, and that they can achieve their dreams despite their limitations.”CEO of Parkinson’s NSW Ms Jo-Anne Reeves said, “Initiatives such as this art exhibition provide the opportunity to highlight the day-to-day struggles and realities experienced by people living with chronic illness.“Parkinson’s NSW is pleased to be working in partnership with Charles Sturt University and Associate Professor Rachel Rossiter and the research team to highlight the need for specialist nurses in rural and regional areas of NSW.”Professor Rossiter said the exhibition is free and open to the public and encourages people to see this visually stunning and thought-provoking exhibition.Mr Grace explained that storytelling is something that has always been a part of his life, whether it be through photography, videos or writing.“My images are the most important storytelling tool I have and I aim to create an emotional impact while making others think about things that may not be commonplace in their lives,” he said.“I like to invoke emotions, explore thoughts and attempt to explain experiences through my imagery. Most of those thoughts, emotions and experiences come from my own life, such as my self-portraits, which tell stories of what I experience being chronically ill.“I try to keep the stories I tell of my own life as raw and impactful as I possibly can, which includes using post-processing techniques such as adding textures and occasionally compositing images together to add extra impact to the final product. “My images are dark and confronting, but I find that they create conversation, which I believe is important with my kind of work, as creating conversation leads to more awareness, which I hope leads to action to help or fix the issues that I raise in my imagery.“Although my images come from a deep, dark and confusing world inside my head, I encourage viewers to find their own worlds inside my images and connect to them by attaching their own meanings or stories to them.“I aim to keep on evolving as a photographic artist, and never let my health stop me from doing what I love doing the most, which is photography,” Mr Grace said.Head of Campus at CSU in Dubbo Ms Cathy Maginnis said, “We support all artists to display their work for the public to view at the University in Dubbo, and invite members of the public to visit this exhibition”.

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews.

The Tyler Grace Photography exhibition ‘The Chronic Diaries’ runs from Wednesday 1 August until Friday 29 September at CSU, Tony McGrane Place, Dubbo. Opening hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with out-of-hours viewings possible by appointment.

Artist biography:

Mr Tyler Grace is a conceptual artist who uses photography as a medium to tell stories from both his life and the lives of others.

During his first two years as a photographer, he practiced glamour and fashion photography, but an event occurred in 2014 which would change the course of his photographic career forever. This event gave him the courage to finally make the giant leap into the dark storytelling style of photography that is now synonymous with his name.

2016 was the year that Tyler Grace’s passion of photography started turning into something more. He was selected as a finalist in the MAMA National Photography Prize 2016, and his career snowballed from there. Throughout the two years since, he has been a finalist in multiple national photographic and art competitions, won the Susan Moorhead Memorial Award in the MAMA Art Prize 2016, and won the Young Regional Artist Scholarship through Create NSW.

Mr Grace has also been a part of many group exhibitions, both within Australia, and overseas, including exhibitions in Orlando (Florida, USA) at the CityArts Factory and the ImageNation Paris International Photo Expo in Paris.

He also held his first solo exhibition at MAMA in Albury in 2017. His exhibition, ‘The Chronic Diaries’ was then toured to the Sydney Fringe Festival where it won one of five Critics Pick awards out of the 350 shows that were held at the festival. His current goals are to keep creating new work, keep exhibiting in group exhibitions, and tour ‘The Chronic Diaries’ world-wide.

Biography of Associate Professor Rachel Rossiter:

Associate Professor Rachel Rossiter has over 30 years clinical experience in primary health care, public health, general practice and mental health settings both in urban and rural areas of NSW and in countries such as Madagascar and the Solomon Islands. This has given her a deep understanding of the key role that nurses play in the provision of health care around the world. This clinical experience, twelve years of which were spent working at an advanced practice level with people living with chronic and disabling autoimmune conditions and a further ten years in specialist mental health practice, informs her work as an academic and researcher.

A strong focus on developing capacity for advanced nursing practice has enabled Professor Rossiter to develop and implement advanced practice nursing programs at the University of Newcastle, University of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates), and at Charles Sturt University.  Her expertise in curriculum development and ability to work trans-culturally has led to international consultant engagements with the Aga Khan Development Network and University in Egypt and East Africa, and ongoing research activities in the United Arab Emirates. As a researcher with CSU, her activities continue to focus on the role of nurses in the provision of specialist care, especially in the rural and regional areas of NSW.

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Dubbo Arts and Culture Charles Sturt University Health Allied health Nursing and midwifery