anxious places, the big anxiety festival AT THE NATIONAL ART SCHOOL , sydney

Anxious Places Exhibition


Anxious Places Exhibition 9am–5pm,11–14 October 2017

Rayner Hoff Project Space, National Art School, Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia

Launched by Steven Alderton, Director and CEO National Art School

Special guest speaker Professor Katherine Boydell, Black Dog Institute, University NSW.

Anxious Places


Anxious Places is a photographic exhibition that depicts colourful, emotive words in anonymous suburban environments, revealing the language of childhood trauma in places where family tensions often remain shamefully concealed ‘behind closed doors’.

Exploring childhood abuse and family disturbances, the photographs utilised the hand-stitched felt alphabet letters made by Dreyfus, placed in domestic settings such as a bedroom, kitchen, alleyway or playground. The artworks depict the feelings, thoughts and spoken words of those who inhabit and experience these silent interior and exterior landscapes.

Through Anxious Places, the artist investigates common place yet hard to accept, behaviours and emotions, in order to confront the shame and anxiety associated with these emotions.

Anxious Places is a re-working of two previous exhibitions, Scumbag, show at Stills Gallery in 2008 and I forgive you every day, exhibited at the University of Newcastle Gallery in 2012.



Anxious Places Art Workshop


Dr Ella Dreyfus guides you through a creative process that uses photographs, together with visualisations and writing exercises. You will be lead on a tour of the National Art School, site of the old Darlinghurst Gaol, with access to hidden areas of the campus, learning about this important site of Sydney’s former penal colony. Participants have the opportunity to explore the idea of place and the meanings, memories and feelings we attribute to certain locations, in particular places with layered personal and collective histories.