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Arts Playing a Critical Role in Dealing with Renewal

Twelve months on from the floods that affected so many, we see the evidence of the arts playing a critical role in dealing with history, disaster, and renewal. There is nothing surprising about this, simply affirmation that a progressive modern society depends on the arts to observe, enquire and respond.

In 2011 audiences were given the opportunity to laugh at themselves and others as we saw the locally written and produced play, The Great Flood, performed by The Swan Hill Theatre Group in sell out performances. The production brought much needed comical relief to the community. This year the Flood is touring the towns of the region to great acclaim and has been nominated for the xyz awards.

Last December Julie Chislett-Duffus brought to the gallery a body of work that was nothing less than a celebration of a landscape thankfully replenished by this major event.

Mystic Park resident and artist Caroline Ellishas been working with the Murrabit and Benjeroop communities to create murals that tell the story of a proud local people that came together during and following the floods. These murals tell of the collective pride and aspirations for the future.

Through ABC Open online, Mildura based cross media journalist Lara van Ray has documented the stories of a number of people in the Murrabit and Kerang region.

Currently on show at the gallery is the work of Nyah photographer Linda Ford. Her exhibition Kapel Purnburndila documents the massive floodwaters moving ever slowly through the forests, reviving all that is so dependent on that infrequent magnificent natural event.

Society needs to reflect, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes with the benefit of time, all that is around, whether that be catastrophe, accomplishment, politic upheaval, the natural or the cultivated world.

Art provides us with an opportunity to document significant times, to tell stories, to imagine, to capture new moments and ultimately to interpret, to help us make sense of it all.

Kapel Purnburndila ends March 4.