19 May 2022
A knock on the door. You have to leave now. We need to go. We’ve got 20 minutes. Need to pack now. Can't breathe/ can’t get across the river/ can’t see for the red dust/ can’t see though the smoke and flames.
In this exhibition, Carnivale Catastrophe, produced by Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains (MAPBM), eight artists engaged with key local community organisations and individuals to respond to one of these recent, increasingly destructive environmental cycles; drought then fire then flooding then something else.
The multi-media installations of the exhibition were shown in a safer place. This place could have a designated status, could be a place of last resort. However, there is ongoing uncertainty about just how safe it is.
Here the artworks become a catalyst for conversation, a way to examine the construction of social capital in a time of distress, trauma and disaster. They form a platform for the exchange of stories, narratives and personal histories, not only a physical space but also a space of interactions, reflections and connection. The exhibition space hosts members of key local community organisations and individuals interweaving shared experiences, resources and information.
The MAPBM artists are Anne Graham, Beata Geyer, Fiona Davies, Tom Isaacs, Ebony Secombe, Rhonda Dee, Ken Lambert and Sean O’Keefe. The exhibition manager is Lizzy Marshall and the exhibition is curated by Fiona Davies.
The phone pings 'It’s too late to leave. Take shelter'.
Both organisations, MAPBM and Cementa22, are based in communities that were severely affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires. The installations, performances and public programs of Carnivale Catastrophe are situated in such a post disaster emotional landscape and explore the ideas of uncertainty, of trying to find comfort, shelter, or a safer place and trying to understand what happened. Carnivale Catastrophe provides a catalyst for conversations where voices in these communities are able to share their experiences.