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Postcards from the Fire exhibition extended at Village Centre Batemans Bay

Following the success of the Postcards from the Fire photography exhibition at The Gallery Mogo, Creative Arts Batemans Bay is proud to announce the exhibition will continue at the Village Centre, Batemans Bay (opposite Kmart) from the 4th November until 13th December 2020 Intended as a community healing project, the exhibition features photographs, sculptures and paintings portraying memories of the 2019/20 summer bushfire tragedy and subsequent regeneration. Exhibition catalogues will be available for purchase at $20 per copy with proceeds supporting Blazaid.

View exhibition submissions online #postcardsfromthefire is a community healing project launched by Creative Arts Batemans Bay (CABBI). It’s a virtual gallery of what the 2019-2020 bushfire season made of our world, as seen through the lenses of our community members.  CABBI 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 at the Village Centre in Batemans Bay, from 3 November -10 December 2020 (open Wednesdays to Sundays). Submissions are also being captured in a virtual gallery on Instagram and Facebook.

Australia is no stranger to bushfires, but the 2019-2020 season was unprecedented.  Hotter temperatures, drought and high winds escalated the crisis.  An early start to the season saw major fires as early as June 2019, and a number of out-of-control fires emerging in September.  Throughout November, December and January the situation escalated.  More than 46 million acres were burned, nearly 3,000 homes and several thousand buildings were destroyed, and 34 people died.  The Insurance Council estimated that bushfire claims were approximately $A1.9 billion. Economists estimated the impact of the bushfires was about $A3.5 billion. University of Sydney ecologist Chris Dickman, estimated that more than a billion animals were killed.

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.

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