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New exhibition marks DisAbility Day in Canberra

2 DECEMBER 2003

A collection of art works reflecting the spaces, faces and places of Australia go on display at the National Museum tomorrow, to celebrate the International Day of People with a DisAbility.

The My Australia! exhibition is the result of four groups of Canberra artists with intellectual or physical disabilities working with National Museum staff to record their response to the museum through art.

"This new Museum, with its stories and objects, its sounds and its spaces, provides a multitude of trails to inspire the arts and broaden experiences of heritage," says National Museum project consultant, Edwina Jans. "The National Museum is helping to increase the representation of people with disabilities in the community through cultural expression."

The exhibition is being launched in the National Museum's Hall at 11.10am tomorrow, 3 December, by Annette Ellis, Shadow Minister for Disabilities.

The opening includes a dance piece by the Noisy Friar Birds a group of local college students with intellectual disabilities and music from Cranleigh School students.

Lisa Bell, one of the My Australia! artists who will speak at the opening, says that people with disabilities carry many talents which add meaning to everybody's life.

"The work of a disabled artist has a special meaning because it has a dimension of depth that an ordinary artist cannot attain so easily," says Lisa. "The disabled are happy, fun, creative types by virtue of their having been through a variety of experiences outside the norm. They have a lot to offer people whose existences are more mundane!"

The International Day of People with a DisAbility is a worldwide annual celebration on 3 December to celebrate and acknowledge the experience and expertise of people with a disAbility.

My Australia! is on show in the National Museum of Australia's Hall from 3-10 December.
Entry is free.

For interviews or more information please contact Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or l.coleman@nma.gov.au