Recovering addict helps reconnect others to culture through art

A former drug addict is finding recovery and reconnecting to his culture through traditional Aboriginal art.

Trevor Narkle has been part of the Fresh Start Recovery Program for three months and in that time he has learnt to express his grief into a creative medium.

“I always got into my culture from a young age and always wanted to learn more about it,” he said.

“My family taught me how to paint and I want to pass it on to my kids as well.”

Mr Narkle, who grew up in York has his first complete painting while in rehabilitation put on display at the Wheatbelt Health Network in the Hill Cafe Co.

“The painting shows the way I’ve travelled and the pain and the hurt,” he said.

“The next painting I’m going to do is similar to this one but with bright colours showing me getting healthier.”

The father of five said he battled with an amphetamine addition following the passing of his grandmother and mother who were both backbones of his family.

“I was living on the streets in Perth,” Mr Narkle said.

“When I buried my mother I got caught up in the wrong company.

“We made a promise before she died for me to get better and that’s what I’m working on now.

“I’ve come a long way.

“Fresh Start has saved my life.”

Mr Narkle has started to get other Indigenous men in the recovery program into traditional painting as a form of stress relief.

“I’m teaching the boys how to paint and they’ve noticed a difference as well,” he said.

David Gunter general manager of the Northam Recovery Centre said being an artist has become a part of Mr Narkle’s identity.

“We’ve been talking in our fathers group about how we define ourselves,” he said.

“We asked Tervor ‘who are you?’ and this is Trevor the artist.”

Mr Gunter said the process has helped men reconnect with their culture. 

“In this instance it’s more than a piece of art, it’s about creating a leader and a catalyst for change within the community,” he said.

“What we’re going to do with some of Trevor’s art is sell it and set up a trust fund for his kid’s future.”

Fresh Start are looking for funds or donations of art supplies to help men in the program continue their art therapy. 

For more information contact David Gunter on 0411 810 406.