Revealing the unseen: how art responds to trauma

From the horrors of child abuse to the violence of the Frontier Wars, art offers us the opportunity to face trauma, and to heal.

Doug Heslop, The Head (detail) 2018, Oil on Masonite.

The healing power of art is often discussed in terms of the personal, but this year’s Blake Prize points to some of the many ways artists help communities face the legacy of trauma. The prize presents art that deals with the religious and spiritual. Unsurprisingly, the responses of the 80 finalists range widely – from Wade Marynowsky’s self-portrait with Jedi lightsaber to Khaled Sabsabi’s infinitely looping video of Buddhist monks walking through a suburban street in Bonnyrigg.

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Jane O'Sullivan
About the Author
Jane O’Sullivan is an independent art writer based in Sydney. Her work has appeared in Vault, Art Guide, Ocula, Flash Art, Running Dog and the Australian Financial Review. She is also a former editor of Art Collector and Art Edit magazines.