New exhibition and book immortalise Lismore’s flood survivors

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin is working with acclaimed photographer Jacklyn Wagner on fully exhibiting 100 flood survivor portraits in Parliament House next month. The photos will also be showcased in a limited edition book.

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin is thrilled that Jacklyn Wagner’s photo essay on the city’s flood survivors will be fully exhibited in NSW Parliament next month (May 2023) and showcased in a limited edition book.

“I’ve been working with Jacklyn on ensuring that all 100 of her stunning portraits get to hang in the Fountain Room of Parliament as a tribute to Lismore residents’ strong fighting spirit,” Ms Saffin says.

“We had a more modest exhibition of 25 prints in Sydney last November which was attended by five flood survivors, and we then committed to mounting a full exhibition in May this year so more folk could be involved.

“Jacklyn has gifted ‘Through the Heart … a flood of fears and tears’ to the Lismore Regional Gallery’s permanent collection, making it an artistic statement and historical record of how locals faced the worst natural disaster we have witnessed.

“I’m pleased that about 20 people who are featured in these images, accompanied by their partners or guests, will attend the official opening on Tuesday night, May 2. The exhibition will run until Thursday, May 25.”

Jacklyn Wagner, a respected, award-winning local photographer, thanked Ms Saffin and her team for securing a discretionary grant for both  exhibitions from former NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, supplemented by an arts grant from former NSW Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin MLC.

“I didn’t know where this project would end up but I knew it was an important and valuable thing to do, and I promised that it would end up as something beautiful, something lasting,” Wagner said.

“The exhibitions and the book have been a labour of love for me … there is no financial gain for me … it’s a gift from me to my community.

“I’d also like to thank the Lismore Regional Art Gallery for their support, IAS Fine Arts Logistics for covering the costs of transporting the full exhibition to Sydney and return, and the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library for storing the images before and after the exhibition.

“The book is sponsored by Nikon Australia and one of my dearest friends Jennifer Cavanagh, of Shellharbour. Three flood-impacted Lismore businesses were involved in the book’s production, including Lismore City Printery, Graphiti Design Studio and The New Camera House.”

The book will be available from next month through The New Camera House in Keen Street, Lismore.

Amoonda Nelson

Pictured with pages from a travel journal written during a 2002 trip to Europe, Amoonda has lived in her South Lismore home for the past nine years. Photo: JACKLYN WAGNER.