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Canberra Today 5°/7° | Friday, July 1, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Mike’s art give veterans a voice

“Roger Marsh” by Mike Armstrong, 2022

AUSTRALIAN artist and veteran, retired major Mike Armstrong, is giving voice to veteran health through “Voices of Veterans”, to be launched by joint patrons, the Governor-General David Hurley and Mrs Hurley, at the National Press Club tomorrow (May 18).

Designed by Armstrong as a series of art exhibitions, workshops and small events, initially based on his own work, the project is aimed at supporting veterans in Australian communities, bringing voice to those living with post traumatic stress.

Armstrong knows all about that. A veteran of the Australian Army, having served in East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq and also as part of the Tactical Assault Group East, he suffered years of chronic pain and depression before being diagnosed with PTSD in 2020, but has turned his pain into his purpose.

Artist-veteran Mike Armstrong

Now a contemporary artist and author, he has a bachelor of arts, masters of arts in creative arts, and a masters in cyber security. He works in a variety of mediums from his art studio in Canberra.

As an active ambassador for veteran art in Australia, he says: “Listening to someone’s story sends a very clear message; you are worthy… you are worthy of my attention, time, respect, empathy, friendship, my love and my art.

“The images are the shiny thing that people get to see, but the impact behind all that is really what it’s all about.”

The exhibition of photographic installation art, which shows the pain and suffering of identified Australian veterans as subjects, will travel around Australia accompanied by veteran community building activities.

The project is calling for private and public philanthropic funding to create the Voices of Veterans Fund, to be managed in partnership with the Australian National Veterans Art Museum.

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Helen Musa

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