For this project we hosted a Bushfire Safe Building workshop and tour facilitated by Tom Neil, this involved a presentation at ECOSS on Bushfire Safe building considerations, including the local CFA and tours of homes in Warburton built to withstand bushfires. This was an important aspect of our project offering positive solutions to a very real threat that we face annually living in the Yarra Valley.
Vickie Basdeo (RELAB) held 5 interactive creative workshops at 5 different events making ephemeral art with Commemoration of the 2009 Bushfires in mind.
Lucy Pierce (Community Pottery Studio Yarra Valley), has created 4 elemental art pieces that when pieced together with Vickies work make a contemplation place at ECOSS to mark the 2009 Bushfires.
Lucy Pierce Reflects: The process of creating this installation piece has evoked a deep inner journeying for both of the artists involved, around grief and trauma, monument and remembrance.
It has catalysed reflections and impulses to create that have culminated in the creation of a container, a curated space, that allows within its weave a reflective engagement and an offering back of what it is to grieve as a community, what it is to heal as a people, what it means to allow space to metabolise feeling, trauma and somatic experience so that we can arrive into a collective space of authenticity, connection, communion with all of the aspects of life.
This making of a space into which grief and deep feeling is welcomed, has constellated around our relationship to the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Ether. Each element summoning forth its own inner promptings as we have each constructed sentinels of sorts to create the container of our installation. There is also a strong intention for the space to have an aspect of reciprocal engagement, an invitation for those who experience the piece to offer back into the art work itself, that which is stirred for them in their experience of engaging with the space.
There has been a strong desire to steer clear of monumentality and to instead offer a reflection of how we as artists have been moved by the themes that have arisen for us, in our exploration of commemoration. Through this reflection an offering of shared space has been forged through the making of artworks that are designed to occupy the periphery of an internal space, through which the community is invited to feel into the emergent themes of grief and praise.
Vicky and Lucy pose the questions of how can we turn grief into praise by letting our tears sculpt what we are birthing and becoming?And how can the fires within us be transmuted in ways that are creative, rather than destructive?
Vickie Basdeo Reflects:
Bushfire Commemoration Art Project
By Vick Basdeo
There are so many stories of recycling and re-birth woven into these stick spirit totem poles.
Most of the gum branches come from a tree that fell down by our dam in the big north winds we get on the farm.
Some of the wool has been gifted to me by my cousin who works in a carpet factory.
Some of the wool fleece has been lovingly hand dyed in tumeric and eucalyptus bark and leaf dyepots.
Some of weavings are scraps from the local old fashioned sock factory in Woori Yallock, hand-dyed in my dye pots.
The strips of cotton have again, been hand dyed from old sheets purchased from the local op shops and pretty much all of the nature objects have been locally foraged by rambles in the local forests.
These objects may not cost much but have taken many hours of untangling, stripping, scouring and alchemising in bubbling dye pots and are so enriching to me as they provided much sought after connection with this land and the many plant medicines that that this land offers in such generous abundance.
This art project has afforded me much reflection time on these elements of earth, water, fire and air – and how we dance with them within and without. The times of fire, flood, drought, and times of plenty all play a part in this seasonal cyclical dance of life in the Yarra Valley and when I embrace them deeply, sometimes in joy others times, with deep grief and loss, I inevitably find a wild and soulful path home.ECOSS would like to thank the Victorian Government and Yarra Ranges Council for supporting this project.