Both organisations, Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains and Cementa22, are based in communities that were severely affected by the 2019–2020 bushfires. The installations, performances and public programs of Carnivale Catastrophe are situated in such a post-disaster emotional landscape and explore the ideas of uncertainty, of trying to find comfort, shelter, or a safer place and trying to understand what happened. Carnivale Catastrophe provides a catalyst for conversations where voices in these communities are able to share their experiences.
A knock on the door. You have to leave now. We need to go. We’ve got 20 minutes. Need to pack now. Can’t breathe/can’t get across the river/ can’t see for the red dust/ can’t see though the smoke and flames. This is the reality, the new normal.
In this exhibition, Carnivale Catastrophe, produced by Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains, eight artists engage with key local community organisations and individuals to respond to an example of one of the recent, increasingly destructive environmental cycles; fire followed almost immediately by Covid 19.
The multi-media installations of the exhibition are shown in a safer place. This is a place that could have a designated status, a place of last resort. However, there is ongoing uncertainty about just how safe it is.
Here the artworks become a catalyst for conversation, a way to examine the construction of social capital in a time of distress, trauma and disaster. They form a platform for the exchange of stories, narratives and personal histories, not only a physical space but also a space of interactions, reflections and connection. Alongside the artworks the exhibition space will host members of key local community organisations and individuals interweaving shared experiences, resources and information.
The MAPBM artists are Anne Graham, Beata Geyer, Fiona Davies, Tom Isaacs, Ebony Secombe, Rhonda Dee, Ken Lambert and Sean O’Keefe. The exhibition manager is Lizzy Marshall, and the exhibition is curated by Fiona Davies.
The phone pings: ‘It’s too late to leave. Take shelter’.
Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains (MAPBM) is a membership-based, incorporated, contemporary arts association based in the Blue Mountains, Western Sydney and regional NSW that supports, advocates for, develops, and produces events and exhibitions of contemporary, multi-form art practice. MAPBM engages with the wider community to develop a new critical agenda for contemporary art in the Western Sydney/Central West regions of NSW. MAPBM creates opportunities beyond the traditional exhibition model, contributes to the dialogue about what affects us most and supports member artists and curators, by connecting them with broader, diverse audiences. Our current membership of 57 is made up of practicing contemporary artists, curators, and arts workers. MAPBM has evolved to become a significant contemporary arts organisation in the region, with growing networks and partnerships, a successful and vibrant exhibition program, and increasing membership.