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A Safe and Honest Place

As we look back on all the wonderful young people we met during Youth Week in April 2023, Mona publishes the work of some very talented young artists in the month of May. The first to feature her raw, bold work on the Mona blog is Tahlia Scadden. She shares her insights into how her art has changed as she finds her individuality, and what her art allows her to express and elicit from others.

Image: Tahlia Scadden, Untitled (Body Image), acrylic on canvas (supplied)

Creating art has always been in my family line, a tradition, and a significant part of my life. Growing up, I so admired my father’s artistic talents and was always trying to make him proud, and so I was diligent as I tested and tried many different art styles and techniques (as I still do today).

As a child from a long line of artists, I was set up with a powerful imagination and the ability to see the world through a colourful lens. But only recently have I started to try and learn how to paint.

I love how amazing it is to show others your world through colour, shapes and symbols. Lately I’ve dived deep into the meaning and message behind the piece. I would consider most of my art to fit within the subjective frame and share certain parts about my journey as a young teenage girl, but sometimes I have those random artworks made just to be aesthetic.

Image: Tahlia Scadden (supplied)

As a child my talent was more to serve others. I can see that now. I cared about what others thought of me and my art. But my art today is a reflection of my life and how I see myself. It is a therapy for me. A safe place where I can communicate things that are often difficult to put into words or things that many would rather be left unsaid.

Image: Tahlia Scadden, Self Portrait, acrylic on canvas (supplied)

My most recent self-portrait expresses how I see myself at this stage in my life and the culmination of all I have deeply felt and experienced in my teenage years to this point. I am not shying away from an intense art style or sparking an uncomfortable conversation. My art is becoming more and more honest as I reflect on who I am and how I feel.

Image: Tahlia Scadden, Untitled (Thoughts), acrylic on canvas

I wanted to be honest about the impact of the media and body image. I also wanted to highlight the variety of mental health issues affecting my generation. I wanted to start this conversation through imagery that audiences can connect with – to recognise the intensity of emotion expressed through my art and read through those layers.

The idea and feeling of being an outcast has only fuelled my art in the hopes to encourage others and celebrate inclusion. A world where there is no bullying or put-downs for simply being who you are.

Image: Tahlia Scadden (supplied)

I believe art should reflect your true inner self – your emotions, your story and even the darkest parts of your experience – It’s okay to face those realities as it’s only through honesty that we can move forward and if we are lucky, we will find the beauty in the brokenness.

This is the art I create and put out into the world.


Artist Profile

Image: supplied

Tahlia Scadden is 16 years old and has been the recipient of several art prizes. She works in a variety of media. Whilst art is a hobby for her at the moment, she hopes to sell her art, have an art business of her own and teach the next generation about art.


A special thank you to Amanda Martinez for her work with Tahlia to produce the text and images for this blog post.


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