It was just a couple years ago when Australia was in the news for devastating bush fires. Today, the country is now being battered what some have termed a “rain bomb.” Waves of water have wreaked havoc on Brisbane, causing flash flooding that left citizens stuck on their roofs waiting for rescue teams.
ArtAsiaPacific reported that the flooding forced Australian cultural institution Queensland Cultural Centre to close. The center contains the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art. So far, no damage to the galleries or the work inside have been reported, though it will take some time for damage to be assessed as the city emerges from the flooding.
ArtsHub reported that Lismore Regional Gallery in the neighboring city of Limore sustained significant damages. “From the footage that we’ve seen, and knowing the height of the flood, we can see that the water went above the second floor of the gallery,” Ashleigh Ralph, the gallery’s director, told ArtsHub. Lost in this flooding were some war rugs from Afghanistan that the gallery had previously exhibited.
Another arts organization in Lismore also sustained significant damages. “At Arts Northern Rivers, we are devastated as we have lost everything in the floods: all our office equipment, books, furniture, the lot,” Jane Fuller, the organization’s Executive Director, told ArtsHub. “We are not insured—like many here in the region, flood insurance can be at a minimum of $30,000 per year: simply unattainable for the arts sector.”
Fuller, who is in contact with other arts center in the area, reported that the Northern Rivers Conservatorium, Lismore City Hall (NORPA), and M-Arts (Murwillumbah) also lost work in the flooding. For now, though, organizations are focused on their staff. Ralph reported that one of Arts Northern Rivers employees waited nine hours to be rescued, and in the end lost her house, her car, and almost all of her belongings.
While Brisbane citizens didn’t have the opportunity, Sydney is now engaged in an evacuation effort as the rain is expected to cover the major Australian city. It is unclear whether or not the rains will impact or delay the upcoming Biennale of Sydney, which is slated to begin on March 12.