NEW EXHIBITION: SCU alumni and Deluge artist Heather Matthew discusses the exhibition with National Centre for Flood Research director Caroline Sullivan.
NEW EXHIBITION: SCU alumni and Deluge artist Heather Matthew discusses the exhibition with National Centre for Flood Research director Caroline Sullivan. Jackie Munro

Tragic flood event flows into new art exhibition

FOR Heather Matthew, the 2017 flood caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie was a bittersweet event.

Heather's art studio was completely submerged when the flooded Tweed River rushed through South Murwillumbah, leaving chaos and destruction in its wake.

However while many of her supplies were damaged, she quickly discovered a way to turn the devastation into a new body of work.

Her latest exhibition Deluge is on show at Southern Cross University until the end of the month.

Mrs Matthew, who completed her honours degree at SCU, said the flood event was "sad but amazing”.

"I work mostly with collage and paper. When I opened the paper drawers and found they were soaked and covered in mud, I decided to try and dry them out and see what I could salvage,” she said.

"As they were drying, I started to notice the mud and water flowing over the paper had created these amazing patterns of soil.”

She said she while cutting up the pieces of paper "these seemingly random marks seemed to flow and fit together” as she stitched them into a collage.

While cleaning her studio, she also scooped some of the floodwater into preserving jars, which has since gone into a collection at the Tweed Regional Museum in Murwillumbah.

SCU vice chancellor Adam Shoemaker said one of the works from the Deluge exhibition has been purchased for for the university's art collection and will be housed in the National Centre for Flood Research, which is based at the Lismore campus.

Mr Shoemaker said the university was "absolutely thrilled” to display an exhibition created by an SCU graduate, especially "one which is of such great interest to the community”.

Deluge is on display at the Southern Cross University library until May 24.