In May 2019, I was invited to take part in the Artist in Community Residency organised by Creative Gippsland in partnership with Latrobe Regional Gallery and Moe Library.
I created Destroyer, Resurrector, a multi-media work that acts for social change by examining how poetry and visual art can address ecological and mental health issues following the 2019 bush fires in Gippsland. Drawn on 4 panels, in 5 days, this artwork questions how words and drawing can be at the source of new narrative forms while giving a voice to Gippsland Community, its eco-anxiety and suffering.
My writing and drawing tools were sourced directly in the burnt bush grounds of Yinnar South. By using burnt wood as pen, and water as mixing medium, my intention was to transform symbols of pain and distress into a positive work of art which simultaneously acknowledges people's hardship and acts as a catalyst for resilience.
Engaging with the local Community, I started the residency facilitating a literacy workshop for 16 people at Moe Library. The words used by the participants initiated my poetic process. From this emerged the poem Destroyer, Resurrector which then found its way on the surface of my drawing.
A pale blue haze lifts the heavy dew.
Slowly, I walk through a thick tinted glass.
Hidden under the fog blanket, it came from the north.
Blindingly black, a wall of smoke marches on.
Absorbed through my eyes shut, in a visual trance,
The fire follows its path, without a word.
Oblivious to the rain, he climbs the hills,
Rolls his way down in one unsynchronised move.
He overwhelmingly runs inside, outside, everywhere.
photo credit: Craig Wakker