Facilitated by artist Natalie Scholtz, participants were asked to design masks for the 2014 Mission Australia Eyes in Disguise masquerade ball that was held last Friday.
While the masks created were eye-catching, Ms Scholtz said they had a deeper meaning.
‘In western societies, we go through mainstream forms of institutional learning like English and maths which have a right or a wrong,’ Ms Scholtz said.
‘Whereas with art as a catalyst to have a dialogue or self-expression or to talk about identity, no one can tell you that it’s right or wrong and I think just in that ” that is power.’
The Eyes in Disguise ball, run in conjunction with Mental Health Week, gives those who missed out on a school ball because of disengagement, conflict, mental illness and or substance misuse a chance to experience the milestone.
Program manager Ciara Crotty said Eyes in Disguise was a metaphor chosen by young people to describe what it can be like for them to hide behind a mask of emotion.
‘So on the night, wearing a mask was a way of celebrating, but also it’s a metaphor in showing people, ‘Yeah, you know, sometimes I don’t feel comfortable in talking about my mental health issues’.’
Ms Scholtz said the feedback she received while running the workshop had been positive.
‘They’re all out there today really excited and looking up ideas on what their mask is going to look like and they’re all trying to be different so it’s been good, really good.’