Book documents exhibition and stories of the 2019 bushfires

Photo by Julie Slavin, from Packed Lost Found.
Photo by Julie Slavin, from Packed Lost Found.

Manning Regional Art Gallery has published a book as a tangible record of the Packed Lost Found exhibition which documented stories of the devastating 2019 Black Summer bushfires.

The Packed Lost Found exhibition began as a gallery project which explored people's experiences after the devastating fires of 2019.

Julie Slavin and Tess Kerbel travelled around the Mid North Coast collecting stories of fire-affected residents through things they packed, lost and found.

"More often than not, these were objects of resounding significance. Sometimes they weren't objects at all," Tess said.

A small exhibition was held at the gallery and marked the first anniversary of the fires.

Documented by Tess and photographed by Julie, the exhibition had a profound effect on the community, providing a record of the shared experience and helping to begin a healing journey.

"These stories are about what survives and how to survive. How to regrow, as people and communities, through artmaking, after a crisis," Tess said.

A book has been published which contains these stories and has been distributed to participants, RFS fire stations throughout the region, MidCoast Council Libraries, schools and halls.

If you were fire impacted and would like a copy, you can pick one up for free at the art gallery.

For everyone else, the book is available for sale at the art gallery, with proceeds going towards a second print run.

This project has been made possible with the support of the Australian Government's Regional Arts Fund and funded by the NSW Government in association with MidCoast Council.