Photographic exhibition at gallery focusing on Aradale

Yask Desai, Aradale No 4, 2011, Digital print.

Yask Desai, Aradale No 4, 2011, Digital print.

ARARAT - The exhibition, Deinstitutionalisation, a photographic series by Yask Desai, focuses on the Aradale Asylum, the former psychiatric hospital in Ararat.

Aradale was first commissioned in 1865 and remained operational for more than 120 years.

Over that time Aradale has housed more than a thousand residents and operated as an independent community with a working farm and a largely self sufficient internal economy.

Aradale provides one of the last glimpses into an erstwhile era of medicine in which the State spent considerable amounts of money to construct and run purpose built facilities for residential psychiatric care.

The photographs engage with the now foreboding nature of the architecture and interiors. Perhaps more essentially they attempt to acknowledge the souls that lived under institutionalisation when it was perceived to be the most effective means of providing mental health care.

The series of photographs has been published in a number of photographic journals in Asia and Europe. Fittingly the exhibition at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery is its first full public display.

Yask Desai obtained a BA in Media Studies from Swinburne University in Melbourne before completing an MA in Photography and Documentairy Film from the Mass Communication Research Centre in New Delhi, India. He has since divided his time between Asia and Australia, making documentary films and photographing the changing cultural and social landscape in both continents. He has held solo photography exhibitions in India, Thailand, Bangladesh and Australia.

To celebrate the inaugural exhibition of 'Deinstitutionalisation' Yask Desai will present an illustrated talk about the series and his international career as a documentary photographer, this Thursday, June 5 at 6.30pm

President of Friends of J Ward Bob Saunder, will introduce the talk.

The exhibition will continue until June 29.

Anthony Camm

Director

Ararat Regional Art Gallery

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