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From pain to paint: Eungella uses art to heal from bushfires

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The violent bushfire that ravaged the Eungella community in 2018 is burnt into the memories of those who still live there.

Hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate, left wondering if their homes would be standing once the inferno slowly began to dim.

This weekend, members of the Eungella township will come together for the launch of an art exhibition which commemorates their rebirth and growth since the tragedy.

Eungella resident Colleen James has been an artist for four decades.

Fortunately, Ms James' home had been untouched during the fire, but some had not been so lucky.

"People don't heal from that sort of trauma and anxiety quickly, it sort of happens very slowly and so in all this time ... you can see when you talk to people, how emotional they get about it," Ms James says.

"There were people up here who had huge parts of their land burnt.”

Turning pain into paint

As a way of helping people heal, the artist has been encouraging residents to take charcoal from the trees and draw with it.

Many have expressed themselves artistically, producing drawings and paintings as a keepsake of the tragedy, as well as their resilience and strength.

"Making art is a way for people to express things that otherwise they find really difficult to express.

"It did have a big impact and it still does - it's something I think that will continue for a long time," she says.

The artwork will be on display at a free exhibition this weekend.

A film telling the inspirational stories of people who have bounced back will also be played.

The exhibition will be held between 10am - 11:30am on Saturday, at Eungella Community Hall.

Each Eungella property will get a book, which marks the fire event in writing, so they have a copy to look back on what happened and how far they’ve come.

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