The Bravery Unmasked programme in South Western Sydney was inspired by another innovative program called Courage Unmasked from Tennessee in the USA (www.courageunmaskedtn.org). It involves decorating radiation therapy immobilisation masks. The idea to have this exhibition in Sydney came from a group of radiation therapists from Liverpool and Campbelltown Hospitals. The mask were decorated by the patients that had used them during their radiation therapy, their carers and also some hospital patients with illnesses other than cancer but participating in art therapy classes. These decorated masks were displayed at the main creative arts centre close to Liverpool Hospital, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, in June 2016. Since then the mask exhibition has formed a travelling exhibition and has been displayed at Westmead, Blacktown and Orange Hospitals.
Art Therapy using masks have been used as a tool for people to explore emotions and reflect on their treatment experience. There is now a lot of evidence on the benefits of art based therapies in healthcare. Creative art therapy allows patients or their carers to express their feelings about a difficult experience, explore imagination and creativity, develop coping skills, identify and clarify concerns, improve self-esteem and confidence, identify blocks to emotional expression and personal growth, and sharing in a safe nurturing environment.