Bushfire Collection

Julie Goodwin, Untitled, 2009, watercolour on paper 56 x 76cm. From the Cunningham Dax Collection

The Bushfires Collection is a series of artworks that deal with the traumatic experience of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, the psychological and social effects of trauma on individuals and communities, and processes of healing and recovery following the fires.  Art making enabled these artists to process this catastrophe and deal with new uncertain futures.  The artworks include works on paper, paintings, sculptures and photographs, which provide intimate insights into the experiences of the artists. 

There are 202 works in this sub collection; 33 works are by 8 Victorian artists and 173 works are by 98 students of Yarra Glen Primary School. These works were made as part of a project on natural disasters organised by the school’s art teacher.  

Among these pieces are works from Barbara Joyce’s ‘Chook Project’.  Undertaken by the community of Strathewen, Barbara Joyce brought together children to design chickens and women to produce them. The ‘Chooks’ were then gifted to each child in the community.  The four ‘Chooks’ at The Dax Centre were re-made by Barbara Joyce especially for the Collection. 

An exhibition called From the fire in 2015 displayed some of the works in this sub-collection.  All of these works were generously donated by the artists. 

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