Kathleen Taminiau, Richard Moon, and Anita Stewart launch Wytaliba Bushfires Art Auction

Organisers of an online art auction hope to raise $20,000 to help the Wytaliba community rebuild after this month's catastrophic bushfire.

The organisers - town planner Kathleen Taminiau, silversmith Richard Moon, and ceramicist Anita Stewart - ask artists to donate items, and the public to bid on the 'amazing and unique' artworks in the Wytaliba Bushfires Art Auction next month.

"What happened to Wytaliba and the folks down there is unspeakably awful," Mr Moon said. "Many of them don't have anything left now. They weren't insured. They have nothing. It's times like this that communities come together."

The auction (https://www.32auctions.com/WBFA) opens on Wednesday, December 11, and closes on Sunday, December 15. Artists must register by Monday, December 9, at 5pm, through https://form.jotform.co/93187973762877.


The Wytaliba firestorm on Friday, November 8, wiped 40 years of local history off the map, destroyed more than 50 homes, and killed two people.

The public's response to the Wytalibans' plight, Ms Taminiau and Mr Moon said, has been amazing. People have offered all types of assistance from basic amenities to food, clothing, and household goods. Some even offered places for people to stay, or donated caravans.

What is needed now, Mr Moon said, is money. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Wytaliba Bushfire Relief Fund.

The community could, for instance, use the funds to rebuild homes, the school, or the bridge leading into the village so people can access their properties.

"Wytalibans are going to need long-term help to rebuild structures and install rainwater tanks again," Ms Stewart said. She lived at Wytaliba for three years a long time ago. "They have to build their whole community from scratch, so anything we can do to help is wonderful."

The organisers hope that artists will contribute pieces of art, craft, or ceramics - "anything artisanal," Ms Taminiau said.

Twenty pieces have already been donated, including local artist Heather Cohen's prints, and a painting inspired by Munch's Scream. Some works come from as far as Melbourne: Artrageous Storey's series of floral watercolours.

Also for auction will be ceramics and jewellery - all original and locally made, Mr Moon said. Many generous people have promised to bring a piece art they created or was locally made.

"We now need people to buy the art," Mr Moon said. "We have all this fantastic stuff. Please come and bid on it, and buy it. It's for a good cause - and you get a piece of art."

The organisers will also sell a fundraising wall calendar, with landscape photos of Wytaliba. It is, Ms Taminiau said, a way for the displaced residents to remember what the community used to look like - and for those starting to rebuild, hopefully what it will look like again.

"2020 will be a really big year for the community in terms of rebuilding," Ms Taminiau said. "If they have something positive to sit on the wall and look at, that will be a really nice way of raising the extra funds."

For more information, visit the Wytaliba Bushfires Art Auction Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wytalibabushfire/).

A GoFundMe crowdfunding account [https://au.gofundme.com/f/wytaliba-community-bushfire] also aims to raise $50,000, and has raised more than $59,000 so far.