PERTH artist Elle Campbell’s latest exhibition Worry Dolls at Juniper Galleries in Darlington explores the impact of anxiety and worry.
“I was always an anxious child I suppose, I don’t really like that word but it’s powerful and important for this show’s message,” Campbell said.
“I would say I was deeply sensitive, reflective and had this kind of weird worry of quite profound things.”
When five-year-old Campbell was given worry dolls, her mother told her they were a Mexican tradition given to children to sleep with, taking their worries and sorrows away by morning.
“Today worry dolls have been adopted by western culture and used by psychologists for child and adult anxiety,” she said.
“It is a symbol of comfort and we should all allow ourselves these forms of comfort, even if it is a doll.”
Campbell holds an Advanced Diploma of Fashion and Textile Design from the Central Institute of Technology in Perth.
These days, she said she painted to work through her worry and anxiety.
“I lost my dad a few years ago, which has turned my life upside down and continues to challenge me,” she said.
“Through art I can grieve, express, get angry and be with my anxiety.”
Campbell said she wanted Worry Dolls to connect and create a meaningful conversation about anxiety experiences and the endless loop of worry.
The exhibition features more than 15 artworks using acrylic and enamel paint, oil pastel and pencil.
“The shame and taboo that society places on people struggling with mental health issues is scary,” she said.
“I believe that everyone worries and has anxiety; it’s such a fundamental part of being human.
“So if a worry doll or a piece of art can help someone through their own journey, or challenge someone to re-think their preconceptions about what anxiety is – in that it is not a weakness…
“And encourage more people to talk, share stories and break down the stigma, then that’s a good thing.
“But I hope people experience it how they want to.”
Worry Dolls is at Juniper Galleries, June 9 to 30. It is open 10am to 5pm weekends and by appointment weekdays.