The vision for the Art of the Ashes project was to create public artworks influenced by locals in the areas of our region recently affected by bushfires:
Quotes were sought from artists who reside in the Gladstone Region to work with local artists and community members in each area to prepare the collaborative artworks.
Local artist Jen Hollstein has been selected as the artist for this project who hosted a series of collaborative workshops across the regional community, to give residents the opportunity to share stories and create designs that illustrate their relationship with Country and culture.
This information was gathered to form public artworks which will be used and displayed in multiple ways around the region, empowering each community with their own visual representation of identity which will, in turn, increase the resilience of each community and offer an enriched context when it comes to tourism.
The vision for the Art of the Ashes project, hosted by Gladstone Regional Council, was to create public artworks influenced by locals in the areas of our Gladstone region recently affected by bushfires. These include Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach, Lowmead, and Mount Larcom.
A series of collaborative workshops were held throughout October 2022 to give residents the opportunity to share stories and create designs that illustrate their relationship with Country and culture.
The sketches and notes I made during these sessions have been transformed into six public artworks where each mark and shape has a symbolic meaning, telling the tales of the creatures who live there. The artworks will be used and displayed in multiple ways around the region, empowering each community with its own visual representation of identity, and in turn, increasing the resilience of each community and offering an enriched context when it comes to tourism.
Despite not intending to be emotionally triggering for participants, it is perhaps foolish to imagine that the story-telling and consequent depictions of fires and floods will be anything but that. The natural disasters of recent times in this region have been catastrophic and immensely impactful to people’s lives and the natural environment.
However, it is also believed that through the gathering of stories and creations of such artworks, there is an opportunity for healing too. These artworks, therefore, serve as symbols of the resilience and strength of each community and the natural environment in which we thrive and survive. I am very grateful to those who came to share such emotional stories with me as contributions to this project.
Resilience, Jennifer Hollstein
Many elements from the stories shared have been brought together and developed in this artwork to give an overall sense of the cultural identity across these regional areas. One that tells of a rich ancestral heritage, of nature - perfectly wild and resilient - and a power in humanity’s ability to survive through community.
The map, inspired by participant Muddy’s drawing in my sketchbook of Baffle Creek, includes all five localities: Rules Beach, Baffle Creek, Lowmead, Deepwater, and Mount Larcom in the North.
Here, I invite you to explore the map with curiosity, building your own ideas of what these symbols and their combinations might allude to, and ask yourself - ‘Can I relate to that? What is significant for me about the place that I call home? What visions do I have that illustrate my own connection to Country and community?’