Bushfire-inspired art and photography on show at Port Arthur

October 30, 2013

On January 4th, 2013, bushfire raged through the communities of Forcett, Dunalley and the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas, devouring almost everything in its path. It was an unforgiving and relentless firestorm, fickle to the whim of the wind, a ferocious inferno leaving destruction and chaos in its wake. When it finally ran out of puff it left a community desolate and devastated ‐ changing the community’s internal and external landscapes forever.

The Port Arthur Historic Site played a central role in the drama, feeding and sheltering stranded visitors and evacuated locals over several days until they were able to return home or continue their journeys. The Historic Site and the Arthur Highway, the only road in and out of the region, were both closed for around ten days until the emergency was over.

The Out of the Ashes Photography & Art Exhibition not only documents the devastation and recovery, it is also a testament to the strength of the community, the resilience of the human spirit and the healing power of the creative process. Its aim was to provide members of the Forestier and Tasman communities with an opportunity for creative expression. Each image is also accompanied by a short descriptive paragraph or story that firmly roots the image in the experience and adds another dimension to the exhibition. The images take us on a literal and/or symbolic journey; the short stories an intimate personal journey.

The Out of the Ashes Exhibition showcases photographic images from members of the community, drawings from children evacuated at Port Arthur Historic site and art works by respected local artists Jill Harris, Kris Schaffer and Cate Foley Burke and jeweller Sally Ferrar.

The Port Arthur Historic Site is delighted to have the opportunity to host the exhibition, which will open on Thursday evening, 31 October and be on display at the Asylum, from 1 November until 1 December, 2013. It will also be on display at Dunalley during December and January and a statewide tour is in the offing from March.

A lone tent pitched in front of the Penitentiary at Port Arthur offered some shelter during January's bushfire emergency.

A lone tent pitched in front of the Penitentiary at Port Arthur offered some shelter during January’s bushfire emergency.