Stories

Stories
The Artwork of 
Amanda
Amanda has been supported by Community Connections from 2010 - 2014, during this time Amanda introduced us her amazing artwork.  Amanda created this selection for us to feature at our Annual General Meeting.  We would like to share it with you here. We are fortunate to have two framed pictures on our walls.


Christopher Mclauchlan

CHRISTOPHER McLAUCHLAN 

Christopher (aka Dr Possum) is a well-known and award winning artist amidst the Canberra arts scene. He is also a 38 year old man living a successful and very independent life on the city’s Southside.
Dr Possum has certainly proved his talent as an artist and his story is remarkable as he was diagnosed with autism in early childhood. At that time his mother Lorraine was told he would be unlikely to ever even recognise her and living independently was not considered a remote possibility. Lorraine was advised that an institutionalised life was going to be Christopher’s lot. He, with Lorraine’s tireless support, has certainly proved those people wrong in the 35 years since that diagnosis. Much has
happened to Christopher since then. Having attended mainstream education and progressed to studying at ANU he gained a Diploma in Fine Art. He has even been a key note speaker at Parliament House- in 2010 at the Chief Minister’s Awards Night.

Community Connections has supported Christopher since 2007 and in that time has assisted him in moving house from an area he hated to his current unit which he loves. CCI has also helped him organise art exhibitions, apply for and gain quality of life grants and worked in getting his name and profile into the market.

2011 was a very busy and successful year for Christopher. It started with him hosting an exhibition of his digital art that ran for 6 weeks in the foyer of the National Convention Centre in Canberra. His work was seen by thousands of visitors to the centre and led to the sale of two pieces. He has also had work displayed in the Red Herring Café in Civic at the ACT Government’s ‘ Sharing a Bond’ exhibition in the city centre. This was followed up by the ‘Perception’ exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre where three new digital artworks from his Panda collection made their debut.

Christopher says being an artist ‘allows me to express myself through my creativity, keeps me in a healthy mindset and is great for my social networking’. Christopher has revamped his website www.drpossum.com and is in the process of having an art studio built at his home so he can work the hours he wants without having to travel. Now specialising with art in the digital format Dr Possum also writes and illustrates children’s books. 

He works in textile and traditional paint mediums so can be truly described as a multitalented artist.
Away from his art Christopher is a passionate nature lover and conservationist whose ambition is to get up and close to his beloved Giant Pandas in their natural habitats in China. ‘Those Pandas need me to fight to preserve their existence’ says Christopher and they certainly have a good ally on their side in Dr Possum.
Individual checking the drawing
Dr Possum
John Beckhouse

JOHN BECKHOUSE

John Beckhouse is a talented artist who also runs his own art business. John loves tenpin bowling, collecting, nature, football and any sport where Australia is competing!

John lives with autism and a severe hearing impairment. These factors give John a unique way of viewing the world; they also present John with some challenges in communicating with people who don't know him well. Art has always been an important form of expression for John.  He draws simple
yet delightful black and white images by hand (sometimes with a touch of colour), with messages that are warm, often amusing, and which have an endearing and nostalgic appeal. In 2010 Community Connections supported John with a grant, and, with the amazing support of his parents Pam and Wal (vital members of John's Production Team) and other family members who give technical support; John as been able to turn his passion for his art into a growing social enterprise.
John's card business, also known as Magpie Blah Blah is a fabulous outlet for his abilities; his logical thinking, creativity and attention to detail all contribute to the quality of his product. John also designs, produces, and sells his greeting cards.

To find out more about John Beckhouse or to order from his line of products please visit Johns website www.magpieblahblah.com.au
As his family and friends increasingly asked John to draw for them, he began to realise that his drawings had popular appeal, and became more confident in showing his art to others. John had his first exhibition in August 2009, entitled Magpie Blah! Blah! - after one of his favorite drawings. The success of this exhibition, along with others since, has given John that rare opportunity to earn an income from something one loves doing.
Tea set
Christmas Bells drawing
Peter Rosini

PETER ROSINI

Peter Rosini is a 42 year old Canberra man.  He is also an actor, karaoke singer and fan of the Canberra Raiders. He lives in his own accommodation set on the grounds of his parents property in Narrabundah.

 In 2010 Peter starred in the short film ‘Beautiful’. It was a film about love and acceptance made in Canberra by people with and without disabilities in collaboration with award winning Sydney film director Genevieve Clay. The film premiered on the 2010 International Day of People With A Disability (I- Day) at the National Film and Sound Archive.

‘Beautiful’ played to a packed house of hundreds of people and received critical acclaim. Peter and other cast members have been invited to a film industry event to be held in 2012 in Melbourne. 
 Peter is an inspiration to many people, both because of his success as an actor and because of his personal attitude to life. Peter is well known for having a strong ‘can do’ attitude and a desire to take risks and expand his horizons.

Peter has been supported by Community Connections since 2000.
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