ABOVE: Lauren and Katelyn McKenzie rescued people one at a time in kayaks during the floods. Photos: Raimond de Weerdt
It has taken 10 months for Jeanti St Clair and photographer Raimond de Weerdt to collect stories of the rescues during the Lismore floods on February 28, 2022.
The exhibition is called Rescue and includes 30 stories and photographic portraits of 40 people involved in the heroic civilian rescue operation during floods.
People like sisters Lauren and Katelyn McKenzie. What started as a call out to help rescue their octogenarian grandfather became an eight-hour mission saving 17 people around McKenzie St in the Lismore basin. Lauren and Katelyn put one person in each kayak and then waded through neck-high water to bring them to safety. The water, they said, was full of red ants who saw the sisters as a stretch of dry land. Ants crawled all over the bodies and under their clothes seeking safety, biting them as they went. But still the sisters persisted.
Tomorrow night, Tuesday, March 14, is a special evening for Rescue.
As well as the exhibition there is a panel with four rescuers – Kira Hartland from Evans Head, Lukas James, Rama Manzart and Aidan Ricketts.
The audience will be able to ask questions and hear personal stories about flood rescues.
The short film Tinnie Heroes by Susanna Freymark and Jimmy Malecki will also be screening on the night.
Doors open 5.45pm. Film screening is at 6pm. The rescuers panel is at 6.30pm.
The Red Cross will be in there to provide mental health support during the night.
Rescue is on exhibition until March 18 at the Serpentine Gallery in Conway Street, Lismore.
The exhibition is supported by Create NSW, Arts Northern Rivers, Resilient Lismore and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal for funding support.
Rescue includes work by Elise Derwin, Rebecca Ryan, Dannielle Pickford and Sarah Moran.
At Serpentine Gallery, 104 Conway St, Lismore
Monday – Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am-2pm
If you need to talk call:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Headspace 1800 650 890