Moved deeply by the impact of the catastrophic Black Summer fires on the community of Mallacoota, three Bega Valley based artists have created over 120 artworks to be gifted to residents of the far north-east Victorian town.
After what was undoubtedly one of the worst summers the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales and Mallacoota, Victoria had experienced, Pambula-based, contemporary fabric textile artist, Mirjam Aigner became aware of the difficulty so many had faced throughout the disaster.
The accounts of loss and trauma from the community touched the artist deeply and Mirjam described the loss as unbearable, saying she empathised and mourned along with those who had been affected.
During this time, Mirjam's friend and acclaimed textile artist, Jane Dunnewold, from Texas, USA wanted to help with the fire recovery and called on her US based contacts, via Facebook, for donations to support fellow crafters in Australia - entrusting Mirjam to pass this on.
Soon boxes of fabrics started to arrive, an overwhelming display of support from all corners of Australia and the world. Large amounts of fabrics, scissors, pigments, cutters and blades, pins, threads, cotton and wool were gratefully received.
In the meantime, the world had succumbed to the COVID-19 virus and the Victorian border had closed at intervals. It was in the midst of the global pandemic, that Mirjam had the idea to create 120 artworks for those who had lost their homes and buildings in Mallacoota.
As both a member and regular visitor, Mirjam has a special friendship with Mallacoota Artspace.
As she began to create, Mirjam quickly realised, this task was beyond her capacity and two supportive friends, Janine McDermott and Joanne Pascall, agreed to support the concept, and Project 120 - We Care was born.
The trio worked for nearly 12 months, each creating 10cm x 10cm individual pieces, made from the donated textiles. The 120 artworks symbolise the 120 "structures" which were reportedly destroyed in Mallacoota during the Black Summer fires.
During this period other projects were unfolding for the trio, Joanne and her husband own a small raspberry farm and were at the height of their picking season, Mirjam continued with her artworks. and Janine was coordinating and managing the opening of the Pambula Collective - a space where local makers sell their products.
Each piece of work created for the project is unique, deserving of being showcased and presented professionally, so with this in mind, Joanne contacted the CEO of Ikea Australia, Mr Jan Gardberg, who without hesitation agreed to support the project by donating frames to hold the textile prints.
Through the generosity of Ikea Australia and Joanne working with the team at Ikea Canberra, every frame was delivered and every piece of fabric art is now presented in its own frame.
The artists are now ready to share their creations and with the support of Mallacoota Artspace will hold an exhibition of the 120 pieces.
The exhibition will be held at Mallacoota Artspace from April 23 to May 23, 2021. At the completion of the exhibition, each of the beautiful textile works, will be donated to the gallery for onward gifting to the local people of Mallacoota.