InstaCat by Ric Abel

Ric Abel Colins and the Cats Exhibition

11 Dec 2021 - 31 Jan 2022

Spud Lane Studios Presents:

RIC ABEL — Colins and the Cats

Colin is an inflatable fireman doing his best to stay inflated. An inquiry into PTSD.

Every person has a story. Some have shattered stories while presenting a brave noble appearance.

This exhibition is a gentle reminder of some of the struggles faced by those trying to protect us.

On 22 February 2011, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand at lunchtime killing 185 people and injuring several thousands more. Emergency crews rush to the scene, and over the course of several days they search through the rubble, entering buildings on the brink of collapse to find the dead, the injured, and the trapped.

For some of these first responders — the firefighters, police, paramedics, ambulence crew and rescue workers; the trauma will trigger post traumatic stress disorder, with the horrific scenes they witness remaining etched in their mind for years to come. Chronic and debilitating PTSD symptoms can strike at any moment as smells, sights, and sounds trigger flashbacks.

Abel recalls trying to paint a portrait of his friend, Huw Jones of Fire and Rescue NSW’s urban search and rescue team, who appeared on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald a few days into the disaster, emerging from the rubble as an iconic hero rescue worker. "It was a few months after the earthquake, and I wanted to share what he had been through and the impact it had on him, but I couldn't handle it," says Abel. The portrait remained unfinished and was eventually abandoned.

First responders are at high risk of developing PTSD from the traumatic events in which they are involved. Society applauds the heroes, but we forget about the after effects.

This body of work is an attempt to finish that unfinished portrait in another way, and honour our forgotten heroes. Abel's "Colins" are partially inflated inflatable fireman dolls that are the perfect metaphor for the emergency workers impacted by PTSD.

And the cats? Where do they fit in? Abel has the last word on this: "I have made my ‘Colins’ a little damaged and loveable so you can purchase and live with them. I have also thrown in a few crazy cats as I want to sell these works so I can give the Robertson RFS 25% of the sales, so they can have a fun crazy ‘get together party’ because they deserve it!"

— Cat Doyle, December 21

Saturday 11 December 2021 – Monday 31 January 2022
Spud Lane Studios, U1/74-76 Hoddle Street, Robertson NSW 2577
Friday to Monday, 10am–4pm
Note: We are closed from 21 Dec - 13 Jan. Exhibition continues after the break.

Saturday 11 December, 1pm
With a live music performance by ex-fireman Dean Gray, and opening addresses by Huw Jones and Robertson RFS captain Jon Bracht.

25% of sales from this exhibition were donated to the Robertson branch of the Rural Fire Service courtesy of Spud Lane Studios.

Click here to view the online catalogue

Other exhibitions by Ric Abel at Spud Lane Studios: WTF Cubist Still Life | Triffids

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