Creative Arts Batemans Bay, is asking community members to share "their recent bushfire experience” through photographs and stories. Supported by the Commonwealth-funded ‘Supporting Communities in Recovery’ program, the initiative aims to build resilience and promote emotional healing in the community, to aid in the post trauma recovery. An exhibition displaying the photographs, complete with an audio soundscape of community experiences, is proposed to be held in Batemans Bay once corona virus restrictions are eased. Submissions are also being captured in a virtual gallery on Instagram and Facebook.
CABBI President Mr Robert Creed said, “A lot of our members lost everything; paintings, homes, studios, while the broader membership has been traumatised, evacuating three or four times. By sharing your personal experiences, you are playing a significant role in helping us all understand the effects, large and small, on our community as a whole.” Business owners have been hit hard with the double whammy of the bushfires and corona virus restrictions, keeping patrons away from a region heavily reliant on Tourism. Hopes that public holiday weekends and Easter would be able to make up some of the income shortfall, didn’t come to fruition. On top of this, much needed mental health support has been hard to find, with health professionals unable to travel to the area over recent months. The project was initially conceived by Mr Mark Blumer (Blumers Personal Injury Lawyers), who felt compelled to help the community reconnect after such a traumatic experience. “In the face of the fire, we were alone (with others, but alone). Many people took photos of what the fire made of our world. This is an invitation to share those photos with each other, to see what others saw, to feel, if we can, what others felt, to not be so alone. We hope to build a community of people who understand each other better and are not afraid to care about each other. In the face of the fire we can come together and find strength, and love, and healing.” said Blumer. To preserve these stories for the future, CABBI is also proposing to conduct a more expansive South Coast bushfire oral history project following the exhibition, and will be seeking volunteers to share their story in greater detail. Community members can upload their photos and stories (audio or text) to the website. postcardsfromthefire.com