A cartoon-style demon head surrounded by a toxic environment but with a rainbow providing hope in the background has won a major regional alcohol and drug art competition. `Darkness Within’ by Brauer College Year 12 student Bailey Neave has won first prize in the Western Region Alcohol and Drug (WRAD) Centre’s Art in Schools competition.

A record 51 entries were submitted from students at Brauer College, Warrnambool College, Terang College, Mercy Regional College, South West TAFE, Camperdown College and Timboon P12.

Second place was awarded to Emily Bakic of Brauer College while third place was taken by Kasey Holmes of Terang College.

The `people’s choice’ award was won by Brauer College Year 12 student Brenna Webster and the WRAD staff choice was awarded to Stephanie Davis from Camperdown College.

Encouragement Awards were received by Ahliya Harris from Timboon, and Brauer College students Brittany Holmes, Jemma Stormer, Brenna Webster and Marnie Cook.

Bailey’s winning entry used a mixture of reds and blacks to represent an explosive and toxic background.

This year’s competition celebrated the journey of recovery and hope for people with dual diagnosis of drug and alcohol and mental health problems.

But he wanted to show a ray of hope and included a rainbow in brighter and happier colours.

This year’s competition celebrated the journey of recovery and hope for people with dual diagnosis of drug and alcohol and mental health problems.

Emily’s `Walk With Me’ represents encouragement, persistence, comfort and hope.

Brenna’s self-portrait of her body art, `Responsive’, was designed to show a light at the end of the tunnel for people with depression and other illnesses.

The competition was judged by artist Gareth Colliton, Liza McCosh and Des Bunyon. Students shared in prizes of more than $1000.

WRAD Improved Services Co-ordinator, Angela Alexander, said the competition was started three years ago to promote local art talent and to encourage young people to express their views around alcohol and drugs and mental health.

wrad trial“We hope to provoke healthy debate at schools and within families and the community,” she said.

“Knowing how our young people view alcohol and drug and mental health issues will help to tailor treatment and care planning into the future.”

The winners were announced on June 19 at The Artery and all entries will be on display at the Artery gallery in Timor Street Warrnambool for the next three weeks.

The competition was sponsored by the Federal Department of Health.