• Left Out Mila, 11
    Imagine having no control over the people who enter and leave your life - whether from relocation, parental separation or death.

    Mila has experienced all three.

    Mila's painting, Left Out, depicts all the connections in her life. She notes that one circle is different from all the others - "it does not have an orange dot inside making it 'left out.'"

  • Tiny Flynn, 8
    Ever felt like a little fish in a big pond?

    For some kids, school can feel just like that.

    Flynn was often distracted and angry at school. He felt that people didn't like him. Negative self-talk filled his head.

    Through art, Flynn discovered a new way to connect with others. Tiny is by no means a little fish in a big pond but a colourful and larger than life presence in a vibrant underwater world.
  • Excitement Cara, 8
    How do you find excitement after the loss of a loved one?

    Cara's dad passed away 2 years ago. Cara never spoke of him but instead used images to share her memories of her dad. Here Cara uses brushstrokes, colour and shapes to show us through her image, Excitement, what she is now experiencing in her life.
  • The power of love Olina, 9
    What gets you through when you lose a loved one?

    Olivia lost her dad suddenly a few years ago. She expresses her thoughts on how she has coped through her painting The Power of Love.
  • Rainbow gecko Sean, 9
    Sometimes the only safe haven from bullying and anxiety is alone in your room. A place where you can view the outside world from a safe distance.

    Rainbow Gecko gives us a glimpse of the fascinating and colourful world seen from Sean's window.
  • Morning Rainbow Ruby, 6
    What happens to someone when they die?

    Ruby's dad died of lung cancer a year ago and to her it seemed a question with an obvious answer.

    Adults may have complex beliefs and philosophies on the nature of life and death. To a child the question is the same, but the answer is sometimes as simple as angels and rainbows.
  • Escape from my worry land Jessica, 10
    A plea for help can only be answered if you have the courage to ask.

    In Escape from Worry Land, Jessica depicts herself surrounded by fear and anxiety, with red eyes in the darkness forever watching her. But in the darkness stands a bright red phone booth, and with it the knowledge that if she can step inside and dial a number, she'll be okay.
  • My faraway place Emma, 10
    What would it be like to watch your hero slowly stripped of all their powers?

    For Emma, watching her dad overcome by motor neuron disease has been devastating. Her Faraway Place is an image inspired by a computer game - in the game it's a secret place where the characters can go whenever they want to be alone to think.
  • Fireworks Ryan, 10
    What do you want to be when you grow up?

    Most kids would say 'I want to be just like my mum or dad.' But what if that meant growing up thinking aggression and violence were ok?

    These behaviours were manifesting themselves in Ryan's life as anger and fear. He began to alienate himself from everyone around him - even those that could help him. Ryan painted Fireworks to express how he feels when his anger explodes.
  • Grandfather death Damian, 10
    Some people believe that kids with autism live in their own world, oblivious to others and the world around them.

    But after hearing a story from a peer about the loss of their grandfather, Damian responded by creating Grandfather Death, as a respectful way of connecting with them and their experience.
  • No clue Keeley, 8
    Have you ever met someone that always seems so happy and resilient, even when their world is full of uncertainty and trepidation?

    Keeley's dad has motor neuron disease, and is reliant on others for all his personal needs. His life expectancy is short, and the family is preparing to say goodbye. Yet Keeley is full of smiles and has a huge amount of time for others.

    Keeley calls her artwork No Clue. We would really have no idea what her world is like but through art Keeley embraced the opportunity to share her feelings.
  • love Alyssa, 9
    What would it be like if you and your three siblings could no longer live with your mum and dad - it's just too unsafe? Drugs, strangers in your home, violence and incarceration are all experiences you do not expect in a young life.

    You and your siblings now live with your grandparents, and through new experiences like family dinners, birthday parties and friends sleeping over, you are building a life of new experiences, fitting of a child.

    'The love still dark but there is a little brightness inside it,' is how Alyssa describes her experiences in her image, titled Love.
  • Helping hands Lucy, 9
    There are a lot of sayings that describe hands.

    'In safe hands.'

    'To lend a hand.'

    'A guiding hand.'

    'Hand in hand.'

    Lucy's life was turned upside down in 2006 when her little sister sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident. Lucy has witnessed her sister go through many frightening medical procedures as her sister was in intensive care for 3 months.

    Through all of these experiences Lucy has been supported by many hands.
  • nrl grand final Max, 10
    Everyone has that one childhood memory that they will carry with them for life. Those memories became even more precious when the people in them also became memories.

    After Max's dad died of lung cancer he found it extremely difficult to talk of him openly. But through images Max began to share stories of his dad, opening a flood gate of memories that he would take with him forever.

    A favourite memory for Max was attending the footy with his dad as shown in his painting titled NRL Grand Final.
  • a day at the beach Rebecca, 10
    We all have a place we like to go to when the world crowds in - a happy place of safety, warmth and calm.

    In this place we can escape, even if momentarily, from the things we cannot control, the step sister with borderline personality disorder, the aggression and the anxiety that overwhelms.

    In her painting A Day at the Beach Jessica takes us to one of her happy places.
  • hamster hotel Lola, 7
    As an adult often our sweetest childhood memories include the adventures we shared with an adored pet. But for a child who has spent most of their childhood confined to a hospital bed waiting for chemo, the dream of caring for a pet is often out of reach.

    So when treatment is finally complete the dream of having a Hamster Hotel becomes a reality.
  • circus of colour amanda, 11
    How do you let people know how you feel when you don't have the words?

    A difficult parental separation and numerous family law court battles had left Amanda lost for words.

    Through art at KidsXpress Amanda found a new voice to help her express herself and her creativity, restoring her playfulness and enjoyment at simply being a kid.
  • swell giorga, 11
    Ever been in the situation where one minute you have friends, the next you are ignored? One minute you are popular, the next you are being bullied? One minute you are on top of the world, the next you wish you could disappear?

    Giorga's thoughts were constantly consumed by the daily challenge of negotiating her friendship group. At KidsXpress, art making was used to help Georga calm her thoughts and find a creative way to identify and express feelings of anxiety and worry.
  • the snail connor, 8
    What do you do when your worry and anxiety overwhelms you?

    For Connor the easiest way to cope was to stop playing with other kids, refuse to go to school and stay at home where it's safe. Within a supportive small group of peers Connor discovered he was creative - so creative and imaginative in fact that other kids came to him for help and inspiration. Gradually his confidence grew and connecting with others became fun.
  • the happy frog athena, 7
    Athena's parents divorced when she was 2. She lives with her mum and brother and visits her dad and new siblings on weekends. Athena was quite self conscious and talked about being called fat an ugly. She found interacting with other kids hard and often looked sad.

    Athena embraced the opportunity that art, music and drama gave her to create imaginative stories about how she would like things to be in her life.

    Upon returning to the art workshop she was asked to "create something that shows how you feel when you can express yourself." Athena created The Happy Frog.
  • the fantastic heart jasmine, 10
    In her young life, Jasmine has endured invasive medical procedures and witnessed the impact that ill health can have on others. At KidsXpress, Jasmine identified art as a way to explore and communicate some of the big feelings she was experiencing. Jasmine found a way to let others know how she was feeling and experienced a sense of belonging to a special group.

    Jasmine's painting "The Fantastic Heart" represents how she felt when asked about her journey at KidsXpress.