Rising from the Ashes | Southern Forest Arts
Rising from the Ashes has been a long-term project for the communities of Northcliffe and Windy Harbour, in commemoration of the 2015 bush fire. The work created has recently started to appear along the Understory Art & Nature Trail in Northcliffe.
Over 60 people spanning all ages have had their faces, torsos or full-figures cast in plaster. The moulds are filled with a mixture of charcoal and glue, and the resultant reliefs are adhered to burnt trees and stumps throughout the Trail. The work and the feelings engendered are very special.
The Trail now boasts a real sense of the local community, as their doppelgangers emerge from and watch over the forest. The faces mingle and blend so seamlessly with the native environment, it can be easy to overlook them until the face of a friend or family member is suddenly discovered amongst the trees. The challenge to locate and identify the work has encouraged residents to re-engage with the Trail.
Even non-arts folk have wanted to be involved with the project – there have been 80-year-old dairy farmers; hardened fire brigade members; representatives from the Department of Parks and Wildlife; men who have never had anything to do previously with contemporary art, allowing themselves to be cast in what is quite an intimate and for some a rather challenging experience.
“Our visitors comment that they get a stronger sense of having ‘met’ the local community now, that knowing that the figures are all based on real people, helps to anchor the artwork in reality and give the installation a greater authenticity.” Fiona Sinclair, Secretary Southern Forest Arts