DADAA prodigy

• Arden Dalecourt and her talented son Sasha. Photo by Olivia Mitchell

SASHA DALECOURT has used art and music to turn his life around.

The Applecross resident has had a schizoaffective disorder since birth, suffering from symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar.

The condition led to him being hospitalised for a decade, but when his doctor’s refereed to him DADAA, which provides people with mental illness access to arts and culture, he began to find his mojo.

Lost songs

This month he will hold his first exhibition at the Miller’s Bakehouse Museum, where he will display pre-federation costumes he has made and sing ‘lost’ songs written by soldiers who died in the Great War.

“I have a mental illness but that shouldn’t debilitate,” Dalecourt says.

“It’s me learning to deal with my illness so I can contribute to society”.

Dalecourt has made six costumes, dedicated to the history of the Miller family, who founded the museum.

“For me, these costumes aren’t about recreating, they’re about representation and symbolism … they represent what people in Australia saw for the future’’, he says.

Dalecourt’s mother Arden is a constant encouragement, and helps make the costumes when her son’s illness gets too much.

“We are a team, really,” says Dalecourt.

“And without my mum none of this would happen”.

The exhibition will also be an opportunity for Dalecourt to sing Unsung Australian Classics, a selection of songs written by Australian soldiers during the Great War.

They died during the conflict and never got to hear their songs performed in public.

Dalecourt says he wants to introduce the songs to a new generation.

“The costumes are for the eyes, the art is for the eyes, but the music is for the ears, and these songs need to be sung,” says the trained singer.

“They are the voices of Australia during that time.

“Being inspired by the old to make something new, but what is important is to make sure you don’t lose it’s essence”.

Dalecourt’s exhibition is at the museum on May 21.


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