State Library of Queensland Logo Mark Lifestyle
State Library of Queensland Logo Mark Then letters SL inside a stylised Q that looks like a speech bubble

Lifestyle | a sunshine state of mind

Saturday 3 March — Sunday 21 October 2018
SLQ Gallery, level 2 State Library of Queensland
Free exhibition | #SLQlifestyle

Photo from the exhibition showing a desk with activities and people perusing the exhibit

What does it mean to live a meaningful life?

Our lifestyles, alongside our ideas of what constitutes a life with meaning, continually shift with time. We buy lifestyle brands, we make lifestyle choices, we read lifestyle magazines. But we also strive to improve our health, connect with family and friends, form and become part of communities, express our ideas and desires, enjoy leisure activities and create hope for the future. While the clichéd Queensland lifestyle is one of sun, sand and sea, the reality is far more nuanced and diverse — just like our landscape and our population.

Lifestyle: a sunshine state of mind takes the concept of lifestyle and the context of Queensland and draws them together to present an interactive, participatory exhibition that explores six universal elements of living — wellbeing, home, expression, play, community and hope — against a unique sunshine state backdrop. In the process, it hopes to challenge stereotypes, provoke thought and engagement and shape ideas and stories about what the future of Queensland lifestyle might hold.

Program Ambassadors

Lifestyle: a sunshine state of mind explores how we live and play in an ever changing Queensland. Lifestyle aims to open up debate, challenge stereotypes, explore the unspoken and acknowledge that our lives revolve around a diversity of perspectives. To help achieve this, a group of nine Lifestyle ambassadors has been selected. They collectively form a diverse set of voices, reflective of the many different lifestyles, cultures and values of the Queensland community. Each of these ambassadors has a strong connection to Queensland and has inspiring stories across a broad range of lifestyle topics.

Portrait of Evie Ryder

Evie Ryder


Evie has been working with the LGBTIQ+ community for the past 10 years, after completing her Bachelor of Social Work and a Diploma in Film and Television. Having lived as a trans woman for the past 13 years, Evie underwent sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in Thailand. Evie is a founding member of the Lesbian Health Action Group and Many Genders One Voice, a trans and gender diverse action group promoting healthy communities.

Portrait of Maha Sinnathamby

Maha Sinnathamby


Maha is a Brisbane-based entrepreneur who cites Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda as his inspirations and is the visionary behind the ‘World’s Best Master Planned Community’, Greater Springfield, as awarded by the International Real Estate Federation. Maha has himself said on many an occasion, “I have learnt far, far more from my failures than my successes and I have failed much, much more than I have succeeded”.

Portrait of Nicole Gibson

Nicole Gibson


Nicole is a fierce ambassador for mental health, innovation and connection after recovering from her own frightening lived experience with anorexia nervosa. At 18, Nicole established a not-for-profit, The Rogue & Rouge Foundation and has recently completed three terms as the youngest Commonwealth Commissioner for Mental Health. Nicole was a finalist for the Young Australian of the Year at 20 and listed as one of Australia’s top 100 most influential women at 21, shortly after taking out the Pride of Australia Medal.

Portrait of Tim Sharp

Tim Sharp

After Tim was diagnosed with Autism at age three, drawing was used as a way of helping him communicate. At age 11 he invented Laser Beak Man- a superhero character who allows Tim to show the world his great sense of humour and intelligence as well as his original way of looking at life. Tim is now an internationally acclaimed artist most famous for Laser Beak Man but also for the hope and inspiration he brings to so many people from around the world through his public appearances, sharing his story.

Portrait of Margi Brown-Ash

Margi Brown-Ash

Margi is a multi-award winning theatre maker, therapist, educator, researcher, facilitator and coach. She recently wrote and performed a trilogy of plays based on the themes of belonging, home and connection, and is interested in how people use storytelling to develop their own personal mythologies. Margi also uses art and creativity to coach artists and organisations through change processes, developing greater resilience and more sustainable and healthy lifestyles. She has studied consistently and read broadly and has qualifications in directing, counselling, collaborative therapies, adolescent health and creative arts therapy.

Portrait of Fred Conway

Fred Conway

Fred Conway is a custodian of the Bidjara people, an Indigenous Elder and advocate for protecting Indigenous cultural sites. As a ranger with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Fred has also been instrumental in developing a unique program for Queensland that trains young Indigenous people and allows them to return to country, gain employment and have a meaningful involvement in the management of their traditional lands. Fred was recognised as one of Queensland’s Greats in 2014.

Portrait of Fred Conway

Faiza El-Higzi

After a terrifying run in with the Sudanese secret police, Faiza moved to Australia from Sudan as a skilled migrant and now has four post graduate degrees in science, education, project management and international business. She is the founder of Create Global, was the National Human Rights Advisor for the National Council for Women and the Economic Advisor for the Queensland Chapter, and is passionate about spreading the truth about refugees.

Portrait of Fred Conway

Brian and Nerida Egan

Twitter: @aussiehelp
Facebook: @aussiehelpers

Brian & Nerida Egan founded Aussie Helpers Charity in 2002 as a way to personally heal and help farming families in times of drought. They are respected and revered as some of Australia’s greatest unsung heroes fighting to save our farmers from loss and heartache by dedicating their own lives to their sanity and support 24/7, all year round. In 2008 Brian was awarded the Queensland Senior of the Year as part of the Australian of the Year Awards, and in 2010 Nerida was nominated for the Who’s Who of Australian Courageous Women and she continues to inspire women around Australia with her tireless work.

Portrait of Fred Conway

Regina James and Jennifer Ketchell

Twitter: @BwgKetch

Regina James is the Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC) Coordinator, Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council. The IKC on Palm Island is a pivotal part of the shire’s infrastructure, a point of contact for the people and visitors to Palm Island. Regina is passionate about collecting and preserving historical records, using technology to record digital stories from Elders as a vital part of connecting and validating identity. Jennifer Ketchell is a Community Liaison Officer with Queensland Health. Jennifer believes in championing young people on Country and creating opportunities whilst walking forward together and working with community to mentor new leaders and emerging champions for Palm Island.


How do you pursue wellbeing and happiness?

The concept of wellbeing is certainly familiar — we see it frequently in magazines and on social media, where it’s promoted by glowing Instagram stars and sleek wellness gurus. Today, we face an overwhelming array of choices about ways to live a healthy, happy life, from exercise and nutrition to mindfulness and meditation. But perhaps attaining true wellbeing comes from within, based on what fulfils us and helps us attain that elusive sense of balance and harmony, inside and out.

In this theme we explore wellbeing through the dizzying array of guises it’s taken on during the last century, all shaped by the forces of culture, commerce and science. This section offers a fascinating visual history of our shifting ideas about wellbeing: from old wives’ tales and home remedies, to miracle products and modern day super foods.


Where is home for you?

Home isn’t just where the heart is; home isn’t just a physical space. Home is a castle, a feeling, a sense of connection and belonging that lends meaning and purpose to our lives. It’s the people closest to us: our most intimate relationships, our families and friends, our most trusted confidantes, our inner circle.

Although home is the place where we celebrate major anniversaries and milestones, much of our lives unfold in the everyday. Home is a place where little things happen with the people who play the biggest roles in our lives.

In this theme the concept of home is unpacked through collection material from the Rawson Family Archives, home movies from State Library’s collection and contemporary memento boxes from our Program Ambassadors that embody the multiple meanings of home: a place or a person, a memory or a feeling, an object or a story.


How do you share your ideas with others?

For as long as humans have existed, we’ve created. The stories of our history are often told through art, from rousing speeches or great paintings that mark significant moments in time, to recreations of the past in novels or films. All this creativity isn’t simply a means of self-expression, but a way of understanding the human spirit, of connecting to culture or exploring big ideas.

You don’t have to be an artist to express yourself — your creativity might lie in how you dress, how you cook, how you decorate your space, how you let yourself be inspired by others. For some, creativity and expression is a way of life.

In this theme we explore significant moments and collectives in Queensland’s recent history of visual arts. Together, these diverse artefacts illustrate how Queensland artists have found numerous ways to break new creative ground and find meaning in expression.

Artists' party at the home of Melville and Yvonne Haysom, 1951
Artists' party at the home of Melville and Yvonne Haysom, 1951 James Wieneke (1906 – 1981)
Acc: 7609 James Wieneke Collection of Photographs, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland


What does play look like for you?

We tend to think of the Australian lifestyle as one largely experienced outdoors, particularly when it comes to how we spend our leisure time. In Queensland, our landscape and climate reinforce our passion for outdoor play and our reputation as a nation of sporting enthusiasts.

Unsurprisingly, the ways we play are changing. By 2013, the average Australian was spending over a quarter of their weekly leisure hours online; by 2016, 80% of Australians owned a smartphone, with many checking it first thing in the morning. Whatever our future play looks like, we can’t underestimate its importance in creating social cohesion and self-fulfilment.

In this theme we discover the unique pleasures of Queensland leisure time by taking you on a tour of the state’s most beloved activities, whether it’s casual games and barbecues in the backyard, camping and caravan holidays or trips to festivals and theme parks.

Group of people sitting in the surf, shaded by umbrellas, ca. 1925
Group of people sitting in the surf, shaded by umbrellas, ca. 1925 Unidentified
Neg: 50041, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland


How do you connect with your community?

Community is an essential part of how we live our lives. It fosters belonging and connection; it shapes our values and helps us find meaning and determine what’s important. Community is about accessibility, inclusivity and diversity; it leaves no one out and no one behind.

Being part of a community also contributes to our sense of identity and purpose. Communities can create positive change by collaborating to achieve a common goal; in times of crisis, community members rally, sharing knowledge and resources to overcome adversity and create hope.

In this theme we invite you to explore a series of digital stories inspired by community and share your personal world view through the creation of a Meaningful Mandala: an activity developed in collaboration with Access Arts. We also invite you to explore what our International community thinks about lifestyle through a selection of TED talks.

Graphic of Fish swimming amoungst coral Graphic of a fish behind coral


What are your hopes for the future?

The future is a nebulous place but that doesn’t stop us from spending time there, at least in our heads: time imagining, wondering or dreaming about what might be waiting just around the corner or light years away.

While the stereotypical Australian — and perhaps especially the stereotypical Queenslander — is laidback and carefree, the reality is rather different.. New research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates that Australia is in the bottom third of OECD countries in terms of working long hours. In 2017, a Mission Australia survey revealed that for the first time, young Queenslanders had named mental health as their number one issue of concern.

Here we encourage you to reflect on and share your hopes — your hopes for yourselves, for your loved ones, for the world — so we can begin to transform them into reality and shape a better world for generations to come.

Graphic of a flowering bird of paradise plant Graphic of a flowering ginger plant