Seroja – Original Painting
Helen Ansell Original Painting
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This painting is currently on exhibition at Helen’s Pop Up Café and Exhibition for the Wildflower Season in Mullewa and will be available to be posted when the exhibition finishes after in October 2022.
Acrylic on canvas, 120x120cm.
Cyclone Seroja hit Western Australia last year causing significant damage to critical infrastructure including roads, telecommunications and emergency services buildings. Several towns received damage including Kalbarri, Northampton, Mullewa, Yuna, Morawa, Mingenew, Three Springs, Carnamah and Perenjorie. Approximately 30,000 homes and businesses were without power, and communication systems were extensively damaged. The damaged network covered an area more than 700 km long and 150 km wide. Two of my friends took shelter under a mattress in the kitchen with their children as their roof blew off and they waited for the SES to arrive. It was actually a miracle no-one was killed!
One of the things that struck me when I first drove the road from Mullewa to Geraldton was seeing how every single tree for 100km had either blown over or had major branches snapped off. There were also rows of beautiful Acorn Banksias – still flowering – that were completely upside down! Hence the inspiration for this piece.
The Willy Wag Tail is often thought of in Aboriginal communities as a bad messenger “Djiti Djiti” (Devils Bird).
If you look carefully there are small shoots of new life sprouting in the ground all over the piece. This represents the renewal of nature and also the resilience of all the people who had to rebuild and in particular the farmers who still managed to grow crops right on the back of this natural disaster!
Cyclone Seroja hit Indonesia, East Timor, and Midwest Western Australia in April 2021 causing havoc.
A Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys), found in both spheres of this cyclone, heralds the disaster, as Aboriginal people often perceive this Djiti Djiti (Devil’s Bird) as the bearer of bad news.
Just one small aspect of that destruction was along the 100 km of road between Mullewa and Geraldton where every single tree was either blown down or had major branches snapped off; rows of beautiful still flowering Acorn Banksias (Banksia prionotes) turned completely upside down – the inspiration for this piece.
But there are also small shoots of new life; the renewal of nature and the resilience of people who had to rebuild – many being farmers, while still seeding and growing crops.