Art For The Heart 2016

By: Samantha Rennie, Community Education Manger, Tobin Brothers Funerals
Monday, May 16, 2016

“You've created something really incredible here. A place where people can express and share their pain and stories in a way that's uplifting and beautiful.” - Judy, AFTH Artist.

Judy’s words beautifully encaptulate the power and beauty of the Art For The Heart exhibition. Hosted for its fourth successful year by Tobin Brothers Funerals it offers adults the opportunity to grieve as freely as children would, and that as well as being an exhibition of grief, it’s a life affirming experience of love.

To observe people colouring in, drawing and playing with arts materials in Queens Hall was a juxtaposition I shall long remember. As the visitors enjoyed the colours of and the emotions expressed in the works before them I wondered how parliament would be if we all remembered to play more and not take ourselves so seriously.

Some visitors to the exhibition stopped and made pipe cleaner figures while others simply stopped to look at the beautiful works as they passed through on their way to their next meeting. Beauty is such an import part of life too. Primary school children on tours of the historic Parliament House stopped in Queens Hall, joining others walking and talking as they viewed and discussed the pieces of art and stories of loss and love.

From the exhibition’s humble beginnings at the funeral company’s Frankston Chapel in 2012, the Yarra Gallery in Federation Square had become the new and much more central venue for the next two years, attracting exhibitors from across Victoria and interstate. Upon learning that the Yarra Gallery would not be available to Tobin Brothers Funerals in 2016, the state government graciously consented to allow us to stage the exhibition in Queens Hall, Parliament House.

It was here where the state’s lawmakers have assembled for 160 years and where the walls are adorned with the portraits of ten former Victorian Premiers, that 96 works of art by 46 contributors were paraded to express their grief and grieving.

41 of the 62 exhibits donated were sold this year, with all proceeds of their sale generously going to Compassionate Friends Victoria.

Art for the Heart has become a beautiful vehicle through which the loss of babies, children, mothers, fathers, brothers, friends, pets, friends and health can all be expressed in a diverse range of artistic mediums.

“Thank you so much for putting this on. It means so much to be to be able to do something for my daughter and share her story with other people. I'm already looking forward to what I'll do next year.” - Jan, AFTH Artist.

Art for the Heart is a yearly event and to register or for more information go to:


Photography by: Matt Weedon - Tobin Brothers Funerals

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