Last summer's devastating fires took 31 lives, burnt 17 million hectares of land, killed an estimated 3 billion animals and insects, destroyed more than 3000 homes, and thick smoke contributed to more than 400 additional deaths.
The fall out pollution meant much of NSW spent summer 2019/20 locked inside.
And then COVID-19 hit, creating the perfect fire storm.
We Need To Talk About Fire is an extraordinary series of four films directed and produced by celebrated filmmaker Bridget Ikin, presented by proud Quandamooka man Wesley Enoch AM, writer and the current director of Sydney Festival.
The four films were largely filmed at Bundanon.
The films explore the ongoing impact the fires have had on individuals, community, and land.
Filmed largely at Bundanon, speakers share Indigenous knowledge systems, stories of community action, healing initiatives and creative responses to find a way forward.
Bundanon CEO Deborah Ely said in the middle of the stressful and unpredictable crisis presented by the 2019/20 summer fires, it was realised that this experience was shared by our entire community.
"We understood that the impact would be long and hard and that Bundanon was uniquely placed to bring people together, to assist in the recovery and to build resilience," she said.
Last summer's devastating fires took 31 lives, burnt 17 million hectares of land, killed an estimated 3 billion animals and insects, destroyed more than 3000 homes, and thick smoke contributed to more than 400 additional deaths
"We Need To Talk About Fire was the outcome of multiple conversations with our neighbours, those who assisted us during the fires and those with whom we work - artists, elders, community representatives and those who share our love for the landscape, its wildlife and its cultural significance."
Community leaders and experts who took part in the project included Associate Lecturer, UOW, PhD Candidate - Cultural Burning and Aboriginal Women in NSW Vanessa Cavanagh, an expert in dynamic bushfire behaviour Professor Jason Staples, Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong Dr Owen Price, and Ngundahmurra, local cultural burn, and Firesticks' practitioners Adrian Webster and Jacob Morris .
The We Need To Talk About Fireseason also includes poems, artist interviews, and three exhibitions - by Ruth Maddison, Wendy Murray and r e a, shared both online at www.bundanon.com.au and on view in the Bundanon Homestead until February 2021.
r e a is a Gamilaraay/Wailwan/Biripi artist from NSW, who examines the bonds between our bodies and our politics, our memories, our place and our futures, working in photography, digital media and moving images, connecting people and their stories through time and technology.
Recently, r e a was part of the Big Anxiety festival's Empathy clinic, inviting audiences to experience new forms of listening, reflection and meditation through story telling.
A curator, cultural educator, arts worker and artist, r e a has studied extensively across art and the sciences in both Australia and New York, and has been recognised with a Fulbright scholarship, a Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, and an Australia Council New Media Arts Fellowship.
r e a's personal practice has been exhibited across Australia, Canada and the UK. It showcases cutting edge contemporary expressions of First Nations identity to a range of audiences.
The films will be released online December 3, 2020.
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