A century of Minda through artists’ eyes

Their Shadows in Us, the new exhibition at the Flinders University City Gallery, aims to give new insights into one of Adelaide’s most extraordinary institutions, Minda Incorporated.

Minda has been a centre of residential care,education and employment for people with intellectual disability for more than a century.

The exhibition has been curated by artist and artsworker Melanie Fulton (pictured), who said the idea for the exhibition came from Pat Rix, Founder and Artistic Director of Tutti, one of Australia’s leading disability arts organisations, which has its base on the Minda site.

Prompted by questions from Tutti performers about the work and lives of Minda’s long-term residents, the initial concepts for the project were developed through research in the Minda archive by professional artists, who then conducted a series of interviews of interviews with Minda staff, residents, clients, families and Tutti members.

Ms Fulton provided direction for the works in terms of feel and aesthetic as well as practical organisation. She said lead artist Laura Wills decided to look at the site, its landscape and the activities at Minda, while Nina Rupena focused on portraits of individuals.

“The challenge was to choose the individual stories that would best represent the time-span and the landmark changes in disability practice over the 20th century,” Ms Fulton said.

“We have uncovered a real sense of family and community, although some of the individual stories are difficult.

“And while we wanted to address the emotional layers of the stories we uncovered, overall the exhibition is a celebration of how far things have come in the disability sector, and how people now have so many life choices and opportunities for creativity that simply never existed in the past.”

As well as visual works, the exhibition features a soundpiece featuring excerpts from the interviews.

Ms Fulton said there is hope is that the project has a life beyond the exhibition.

Their Shadows in Us: an artistic interpretation by Tutti Arts of the last 100+ years of Minda Incorporated runs until 16 February.

Gallery hours are 11am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday, noon to 4pm on weekends.

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