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Celebrating art and healing in Noosaville - all welcome at pop-up exhibition

Published:27 November 2019

1. Dr Sue Davis and April Cunningham at the exhibition. 2. Artists collaborating including Lil Dargusch and CQUni academics Jo Dargusch (middle) and Jacqui Sprenger. 3. Associate Vice-Chancellor (Sunshine Coast Region), Associate Professor Teressa Schmidt speaks at the exhibition launch event. 4. Paper cranes made for Summer. 5. Dr Sue Davis with some of her work.

CQUniversity Noosa is hosting a free pop-up exhibition celebrating the healing power of art.

The exhibition features work by the daughter and friends of CQUniversity Education student April Cunningham, and School of Education and the Arts academic Associate Professor Sue Davis.

In December last year, April’s three-year-old daughter Summer was diagnosed with an aggressive childhood cancer and she was moved to Brisbane for treatment. April had to take leave from her studies to be with Summer in hospital and basically lived in a hospital room until Summer’s passing on 24 September.

Throughout their time in hospital, Sue, who has a background as an arts educator, visited regularly and would bring in art materials and things to do with Summer and April.

April recalls “our time with Sue Davis where we all created art together made us very happy".

"When Summer and I knew Sue was coming in we were very excited because we both knew it would be joyful and fun.

"We also were blessed by others sending us their art - beautiful handmade dolls, toys, drawings, jewellery, cards and more – while some friends played music and sang to us.

"All of these experiences and expressions of art have been very therapeutic for the both of us going through so much trauma, grief and stress, and it is helping me with my healing.”

Work on display during this pop-up exhibition also includes art created by Sue - most of this made throughout her long-service leave from July to September this year.

During this time, Sue worked on her ‘Wild/flower Women’ project in a very practical way, doing many walks to explore Queensland wildflowers and documenting her experiences through drawing as well as photographs.

“I walked country with April on Minjerribah, and with fellow ‘wild/flower women’ near Cooloola and Noosa, and throughout this time I kept making art with Summer and April," Sue says.

"I would often send April pictures of flowers and work I made, and when I visited we would do things like draw flowers together.

"Since Summer’s passing, April and I have shared other art-making times, and we wanted to share some of that experience and joy with others – hence  this exhibition.”

As part of the exhibition, attendees have been invited to share and make new memories through creating 'Summer's Garden'. A collaborative art work is being created which is surrounding a drawing of Summer with beautiful flowers, butterflies and visions from nature.

The free exhibition is being hosted by CQUniversity Noosa - at 90 Goodchap Street, Noosaville - and is open to the public. It runs until Monday 9 December.