Taneal’s art therapy provides a welcome relief for cancer patients.

Registered nurse and art therapist Taneal with one of her art pieces

Internationally collected artist Taneal Barber is the founder of Operation Art, bi-monthly therapeutic and creative workshops held in the Sony You Can Centre at the RBWH.

After initially hosting a one-off art workshop, Taneal saw firsthand the support it offered to the young patients and decided to volunteer to direct and facilitate ongoing workshops.

As a registered nurse, Taneal has a unique insight into how art can assist those undergoing cancer treatment.

“Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients face unique challenges, falling between a paediatric and adult system. The therapies, hospital admissions and longer recovery times impact on their ability to establish independence – an essential milestone for young adults,” she said.

“Operation Art aims to bridge the gap in AYA care, creating a unique space for young people undergoing cancer treatment to destress and express themselves and their unique experiences through art. The program empowers individuals to find strength in a time where they are highly vulnerable and craving social integration.

“I found that previously patients on the same ward may have been there for months receiving treatment but had not actually met each other. Operation Art gives them an opportunity to develop longer-standing relationships with one another.”

Taneal develops programs to suit everyone’s needs and abilities and invites various Australian artists to share their passion, skills and preferred art mediums including photography, collaging, impasto-paintings, acrylic painting, tie-dying, drawing and more.

Developing an interest in art at a young age, Taneal has gone on to complete four annual solo exhibitions and has had her art featured in publications such as Vogue Magazine, House and Garden and more.

“Growing up we moved around a lot, but no matter where we went my Mum would always have a giant craft box with us wherever we would go. I was always drawing, painting or creating something,” Taneal said.

This year Taneal is embarking on a Masters of Mental Health – Art Therapy at The University of Queensland, working towards becoming a clinical registered art therapist.

2024-02-23T13:59:28+10:0023 February 2024|
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