Craigieburn artist Donata Uncanin recently held her first solo exhibition at the Hume Global Learning Centre in  Broadmeadows to shine a light on depression.


What is your connection to Hume and how long have you lived here?


I have lived in Craigieburn for the past eight years. I live here, create here and Hume really feels like home now.


What do you like about where you live?


I like how people in my neighbourhood still greet you in the street. Love the parks and those old trees one can easily climb. Yes, I still climb trees occasionally.


What, if anything, would you change?


I wish we could do something to develop the art scene and connect artists and art lovers in a fun, friendly way. I guess I imagine it as a community of art. I am sure that people in Hume love art as much as those who live in Darebin or the city. We just need to find out what kind of connection would work here as we have no High Street, Brunswick Street or such.


How long have you been a visual artist and have you had many exhibitions previously?


I always needed to express myself through art. For a long time, I was not sure what exactly I wanted to do. So I studied German language, literature and civilisation. That added to my knowledge of literature, art and philosophy. I call myself a visual artist as I love painting, textile art and photography. I seem to do more and more photography lately. I have exhibited in a few galleries in Melbourne, Newcastle, Kalgoorlie, Saatchi Gallery London and a few more online galleries. My recent exhibition in Broadmeadows is my first solo, though.


Your latest exhibition was about mental health. How did it come about?


Mental health is a very important issue for me as I deal with major depression every day – for four or five years now. I started building a collection of photographs from my dark place. In my experience, one of the worst issues depression brings into my life is the feeling of emptiness. So I first started photographing empty eggshells, then seashells, nutshells etc. It was all about being empty. Slowly, I felt my mood started changing and I felt almost content and then hopeful that I can bring beauty to people. And more than that – I hope to be a witness to fellow sufferers that there is a way to at least have a break from depression.


Where is your favourite local place?


I love that small Italian cafe in Craigieburn Plaza, the one at the little lake at Highlands, the swimming pools and the library cafe in Broadmeadows.