Renewal through art

Art workshops are helping bushfire communities heal.

These beautiful works are an outpouring of creativity amid crisis.

Each artwork explores experiences of loss, damage and destruction. They express a sense of home and consider what connection and community mean after fire.

Devastating bushfires swept through Cobargo and surrounding areas on the New South Wales south coast during the Summer Bushfires.

Months on, recovery and renewal is slowly painting itself back into the fabric of the Cobargo community.

The Renewal Art Project, supported by Red Cross, was a series of art workshops for locals in the area. This creative response is just one way we are helping to support and encourage recovery in Cobargo and other bushfire-affected communities.

Going deep

Sophie, a local artist impacted by the bushfires, describes the workshop as a beautiful and healing experience.

“When I saw what we had created I realised just how deep we had inadvertently gone, and I was touched by the outcomes.

“I felt taken care of (still important at the moment) and it felt like a creative breather which allowed me to express without too much talking, or learning which I really appreciated.”

Recovery and renewal

Like so much of Australia, the NSW south coast has suffered compounding disasters. Bushfires in both 2018 and 2020, severe protracted drought and then the added anxiety and shutdowns brought by COVID-19.

Recovery from disasters is slow. Each community finds its own localised and personalised way to get through. In this creative community, turning to art was a natural response.

Local professional artist and teacher Veronica O’Leary from nearby Tathra supported the groups to begin their journey of renewal through art.

Veronica brought her skills as an artist and her lived experience of the impact of bushfires. She went through the 2018 fires.

The recovery art project will culminate in an exhibition at a local art gallery over the summer. The exhibition marks the one year anniversary of the summer bushfires and the 12 months of recovery and renewal.

Useful Information

Apply for a bushfire grant

See what grants are available.

How we’re using funds

Our plan to help people and communities recover well.

Bushfire stories

Meet the people you’ve supported.

Royal Commission submission

Read our voluntary submission to the Natural Disasters Royal Commission.

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