Flood stories told in Ipswich 'recovery' exhibition

FLOOD TALE: Artist Deb Mostert (left) tells the story of exhibition participant Margaret Kloostra, from Goodna.
FLOOD TALE: Artist Deb Mostert (left) tells the story of exhibition participant Margaret Kloostra, from Goodna. David Nielsen

MICK and Anita Thornes anxiously watched the waters rise in the creek close to their North Booval home in January 2011.

The floodwaters rose a foot into their top level, swamping most of their possessions.

A few things they salvaged have become the subject of a painting in the Recovery: The Flood Objects Project exhibition created by Bellbird Park artist Deb Mostert.

"When I asked what they had rescued I was taken on a tour of the salvage," she said.

"The random items included model planes and trains, a football mascot, childhood sports equipment, a pool table shifted by the waters, a lonely sports shoe left wedged in the rafters...

"For the painting, they settled on Mick's treasured antique train signal lamp, Anita's warped childhood tennis racquet and their son's model coal carriage as a sample of what they had kept despite damage and clinging flood mud."

The exhibition of 11 paintings and flood stories will open at the Ipswich Art Gallery this Saturday, coinciding with the two-year anniversary of the flood.

Ms Mostert said painting salvaged items reinforced her belief that an object's financial value did not determine its personal value to an individual.

"A lament on the transience of all things, they were painted as modern-day Dutch still life vanitas or flower paintings, venerated because of all the human experiences they represent," she said.

"I painted them as precious artefacts, on a plinth or in a niche or the lone item on an empty shelf, alluding to the things lost that are no more."

Recovery: The Flood Objects Project continues until February 10.

The Ipswich Art Gallery is open from 10am-5pm daily and is located in d'Arcy Doyle Place.

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