27 October 2022

Dominic Freestone used his wheelchair to create a beautiful work of art.

Claire Robbs and Dominic Freestone at the AIEP launch, revealing Dominic's painting.

We’re thrilled to share this unique artwork, titled ‘Catalyst’, created by Dominic (Dom) Freestone, Graphic Designer at Life Without Barriers.

Now hanging proudly in the National Office in Newcastle, Dom used a very unusual ‘tool’ to create it – his wheelchair! If you’re wondering how his wheelchair played a part, watch this video.

A painting created by Dominic Freestone called Catalyst.

For Dom, the painting is very personal as it reflects his journey to gaining employment.

Seventeen years ago, Dom sustained a spinal-cord injury while serving in the Royal Australian Air Force. After a year of rehabilitation, he faced the harsh reality that his life was completely different to what he thought it to be. So, he made a complete pivot in his career and enrolled in university to study graphic design.

“Despite finishing with the highest GPA of my graduating year, I was uncertain whether anyone would give me a chance to prove my value as a graphic designer,” Dom says.

Life Without Barriers saw his value, and Dom’s life went full circle, from being cared for by Life Without Barriers to being offered a job.

“The painting, for me, is about the divisions in Community and our individual journey. We are all represented by the various colours in this painting. Some of the divisions are more prominent and seem to divide us," Dom said.

“As we travel through these various communities or colours, we mix them and blur the lines between these different communities.  

"Whatever our ability, sexuality, ethnicity, gender or point of difference, maybe we are all part of the same canvas and by working together, we can create a more vibrant, colourful community.”

In Australia, the rate of unemployment for working-aged people with a disability is double that of the general population. It is an unacceptable fact that many people with disability face multiple barriers to gaining meaningful employment.

Life Without Barriers Access, Inclusion and Employment Plan, launched on 18 October, focuses on not only increasing the representation of people with disability in our organisation but also encouraging other organisations to do the same.

Dom delivering a speech at the AIEP launch, where his painting was revealed.

Dom is a true asset to Life Without Barriers. Many of the publications on our website were designed by him, and he has played a key role in ensuring all publications are visually accessible for all people.

Thank you, Dom, it is a privilege to have you in our team!

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