Pop up group exhibition in the old Heidi’s bookshop on Wharf St, Murwillumbah, part of the Murwillumbah Art Trail, May 25 – 30 2017.
Artists: Ness Bryant, Kylie McCaffrey, Mr Todd, Amelia Reid.
The show was 7 weeks after the catastrophic flood caused by ex-tropical cyclone Debbie that inundated Murwillumbah, Lismore and many other parts of the Tweed and Byron shires. I had a bunch of idea for the work I was going to show, but after witnessing the flood and community recovery experience, I had to respond to that instead. Statement from the exhibition booklet, a few pics and list of my works below:
My works for this exhibition seek to re-present the shared experience of the 2017 Tweed Valley flooding, the aftermath and continuing recovery. We have lived through an event that is said to occur ‘once in a hundred years’. We have witnessed a turning in the great cycle of Gaia, an inundation, stirring awe and bringing destruction – to the landscape, to lives, with devastating loss of life. Our community has experienced a forced reframing of its sense of home, the postcard-perfect Tweed Valley. In some way, shocking events that bring change seem to open up portals in reality. It can take one’s mind a bit of time to recalibrate to the adjusted mindset, the new normal.
Humans are intrinsically affiliated with form and materiality. Objects are potent portals to memory. The rediscovery of items, maybe hidden away in storage for years, can release a torrent of charged memory, linked as they are with lived moments and relationships. Object (recognised form) as time machine. Prior to Homo sapiens reconditioning from nomadic to sedentary lifestyle (an impact of the agricultural revolution), our ancestors’ animist beliefs bonded mythologies to form – river, rock, tree, bird, serpent, etc. Natural forms and elements held significance to life’s experiences and one’s sense of place. Materialism has now become a destructive force in contemporary societies, particularly regarding impacts of industry on natural environments and weather patterns. Global warming trends predict more extreme weather events in the near future and it greatly concerning that global warming was not mentioned in this year’s federal budget. The 2017 flood might have been a glimpse of a natural cycle which turns a fraction of a notch every few generations, but the wrath behind it may well have been intensified by the impacts of a globalised culture fixated with commercial viability and environmental commodification.
Tide Line, 2017, photo of timber slat installation on sugarcane debris marking the height of flood waters on the Commercial Road/Hockey Fields earth embankment (archival print on cotton rag)
Held, 2017, photo of timber slat installation on flood debris on four postcards, sugar cane collected from the forks of trees along the riverbank, copper wire
Portals, 2017, wooden slats, chalkboard paint
Flood Ouroboros, 2017, flood and river documentation on 62 postcards
Flood Bucket in B Flat, 2017, plastic bucket, spectacles and water damaged manuscripts (property of and used with permission by the artist’s mother), dried grass, timber slats