Sculpture Rises From Bushfire Devastation

Gippsland residents have created a powerful symbol of their resilience through a sculpture made from scrap metal recovered from the ashes of the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley visited Traralgon today with local Member of Parliament for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing to meet with local artist Jo Caminiti and community members who have been working on Scrap to Sculpture – Letting Go, a project marking the tenth anniversary of the bushfires.

Ms Caminiti worked with a clean-up crew at a friend’s property, collecting burnt relics in the wake of the Churchill bushfires, which claimed 11 lives.

Ten years on, friends and community members directly affected by the fires have contributed pieces of scrap metal reclaimed from their properties to make the sculpture, which represents their way of ‘letting go’.

The project has brought together residents from bushfire-affected communities across the Latrobe and Wellington Shire areas.

The work will not only commemorate the terrible losses, it will stand strong as a symbol of renewal and hope a decade on.

Supported by the Andrews Labor Government, the sculpture is being created at the Traralgon South and District Men’s Shed in partnership with Regional Arts Victoria. Once complete, it will be on display in the Callignee Memorial Garden.

The project is one of 37 community arts projects being delivered across the state to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the bushfires.

Quote attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley                                                                  

“This project shows how art and creativity can bring people together and help express what can be difficult to put into words. It will stand as an enduring symbol of hope and regeneration.”

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“The spirit, endurance and resilience of our communities is embodied in this sculpture. It captures not only the loss and pain of the 2009 fires, but the work to release persistent trauma and grow from such a difficult period in our history.”

Quote attributable to Lead Artist, Scrap to Sculpture – Letting Go, Jo Caminiti                                             

“This project encourages people to let go of their scrap metal to create a sculpture that will commemorate the terrible losses of this tragedy and be an emblem of renewal a decade on from the bushfires.”