Tahliyah can’t walk, but this photographic artist gives her wings to fly

At the beginning of 2016 Jacqui Griffin reached out to me and shared her daughter’s story. She shared that 6 year old Tahliyah is unable to walk, unable to speak, and is undiagnosed. This conversation was the start of what would later be known as ‘The heART Project’.

Taliyah and her family have been a central part of The heART Project in 2016. This is their story…


To get to know this beautiful girl and have the opportunity to visually free her from the restrictions her little body has placed on her has been life changing.


I first came to know of 5 year old Tahliyah when her mum connected with me prior to their move from Adelaide to Melbourne. Jacqui shared with me about her beautiful daughter and the challenges of her unknown condition.

Several months later Jacqui messaged me about wanting a Story Art creation for Tahliyah. A photographic composite that would free Tahliyah from her limited mobility and metaphorically give her ‘wings to fly’.

Tahliyah is unable to walk, unable to speak, but despite this her smile lights up the room and her joy radiates past her physical needs. At 6 months doctors began to figure out that something wasn’t quite right physically with Tahliyah. But to this day her condition remains largely undiagnosed. Part of her diagnosis is Mitochondrial disease however this is only part of the story this little girl is still undergoing numerous tests to try and establish what exactly is going on in her young body.

In planning Tahliyah’s Story Art piece, I asked Jacqui to share with me Tahliyah’s loves, which included animals and her dog Macey. Building from this I came up with an idea to free Tahliyah from the chair, from her restrictions, and create an image with her in the air. I imagined butterflies carrying her through the sky, representative of her family and friends that lift her up and carry her in reality. I wanted her dog in the image looking up in awe next to her mobility chair that was to be left behind in the scene.

Unable to Walk, Unable to Speak, Free to Fly

Tahliyah Free to Fly by Story Art

The following video series (in three parts) tells of Tahliyah’s journey with The heART project. I invite you to share Tahliyah’s story of hope and joy admist challenges.

I’ve always known that Story Art had the ability to bring dreams to life, but this project has moved beyond exciting the imagination to bringing real hope and joy. I’m so thankful to Tahliyah for giving me an opportunity to use my own gifts to provide her and and family with this gift of hope.

It is my desire to help find an answer for this family and other families who are navigating the confusing waters of unknown diseases and challenging situations. Tahliyah is the same age as my daughter, Jazzlyn. Imagining my own daughter going through similar challenges breaks my heart. I hope that my art in some way can encourage families living daily with these sort of struggles.

I look forward to sharing part 3 Heart of a Lion next week through Adobe Australia our heART Project major partner.

This project has been made possible by the following businesses, equipment and companies, I’d like to say a big thanks to each of them.

Read about the other Heart Projects here

The heART Project

Equipment and Products used in this project:

Canon Australia – Canon 5dsr and 5diii, 24 – 70 2.8L, 16 – 35 2.8 L
EIZO Australia – EIZO Coloredge CG277
Canson Infinity – Baryta Fine Art Paper
Wacom Australia – Wacom Cintiq Companion 2
Kayell Australia – Supplier of Canson Infinity and Epson inks
ProTog – Jinbei LED Continous 150s, HD600’s and 400W Jinbei Strobes
TetherTools.com – Tethering cables, attachments and stands for the Wacom to 5DSr on location and in studio
Pixel Squid – 3D Object (Wheelchair) that assisted with angles and placement
Art Defined – Framing of the finished print

Sincere thanks to The Sebastian Foundation for partnering with this project during 2016

Thank you to Jeannette Benbow and Stuart Alsop for their behind the scenes footage

Enquiries regarding sharing this story should be addressed to Karen Alsop – info@storyart.com.au

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