We need to talk about fire

Following the catastrophic climatic events of last summer, Bundanon presents We Need to Talk about Fire, a series of conversations with speakers from across the community who will share Indigenous knowledge systems, stories of community action, healing initiatives and creative responses to find a way forward.

As part of We Need to Talk about Fire, three new exhibitions are on view at the Bundanon Homestead.

Photographer Ruth Maddison was caught in the vortex of the fires at Eden and recorded the drama of dark skies and the importance of local evacuation centres. In the weeks after the fires, she was called on by friends and neighbours to document both their resilience in rebuilding their homes. Her exhibition When No Birds Sing presents the new series of photographs Ruth captured during this period.

Walking towards Aslings Beach. 7.14 am, 31 December 2019
Image by Ruth Maddison

Spark A Reaction is a new exhibition featuring posters by Wendy Murray and local workshop participants. Bundanon commissioned the posters by Wendy Murray themed around the bushfires and environmental issues arising from climate change. These can be viewed in the homestead along with selected highlights from participants of the Wendy Murray workshops held in Nowra during September 2020.

Imprint is a new photographic installation by r e a and will be on exhibition in the large room of the Homestead from last weekend of November. This commission draws on the residency the artist undertook at Bundanon after the fires, to acknowledge the spirits that inhabit the land.

Film program

In December, Bundanon presents a new series of short films produced by celebrated film-maker Bridget Ikin and Bundanon. Filmed at Bundanon, the films are hosted by Wesley Enoch AM. Wesley Enoch, a proud Noonuccal Nuugi man, is a writer and the current director of Sydney Festival.

The films include a series of conversations between Wesley and community leaders and experts, including:

  • Vanessa Cavanagh, Associate Lecturer, University of Wollongong and PhD Candidate on the topic of Cultural Burning and Aboriginal Women in NSW
  • Professor Jason Staples, an expert in dynamic bushfire behaviour
  • Dr. Owen Price, Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong
  • Adrian Webster and Jacob Morris, Ngundahmurra, local cultural and firesticks practitioners.

These new exhibitions and films will be accessible online, alongside written interviews with the exhibiting artists. Visit Bundanon’s website to find out more.

The Bundanon Homestead and Studio are open to the public each Sunday throughout the year. In January this is extended to include Saturdays. 10.30am to 4pm. Online bookings are essential via bundanon.com.au

We Need to Talk about Fire is proudly supported by Inspiring Australia NSW. Feature image by John Janson-Moore shows Djiriba Waagura performing the Welcome to Country for the We Need to Talk about Fire film program.