Mike Medaglia is one of those creators we’ve been privileged to follow at Broken Frontier from their early days in comics and watch as their work has grown, developed and ultimately gained the far greater recognition it so richly deserves.
From his beautifully curated Wu Wei anthology to his meditative One Year Wiser project from SelfMadeHero, Medaglia’s name is synonymous with thoughtful, pensive work that makes the profoundest of emotional connections with its readership.
It’s fitting then – given the tone and timbre of his comics and illustration – that Medaglia has collaborated with Lisa Woynarski and Farokh Soltani on the exhibition Five Bridges: Stories of the Flood, centring on the very human and affecting tales behind the flooding that hit Cumbria in 2015.
Opening for this weekend’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival you can catch the exhibition at Kendal Museum until November 19th. The full press release is below.
Five Bridges: Stories of the Flood is a unique comics exhibition where the human stories of flooding are depicted through comics and brought to life in a dynamic audio performance.
“Five Bridges represents an exciting experiment that merges comic art with oral storytelling,” Mike Medaglia explains. “It came out of a desire to tell the human stories behind the devastating flooding in Cumbria in 2015. We spoke to a number of local people to gather their different experiences and view points in hopes of connecting this event to larger environmental contexts.”
Featuring five different stories of people who experienced the flooding, it tells the human stories behind the flooding of the River Kent which devastated parts of Kendal. Highlighting the wider picture of the interrelatedness of all human/nature relationships, these stories provide a human experience to the often abstract and complex issue of climate change. After experiencing the stories from the flood, audience members will have a chance to contribute their own responses, drawing a self-portrait and telling their own stories, adding to and growing the exhibition.
“We are pleased with how the exhibition came together and are looking forward to responses from the people of Kendal,” Mike continues. “More than that, though, we are excited to see how Five Bridges will grow as people add their own stories of flooding, expanding and enriching our understanding of the impact of this event.”
Sponsored by local business Atlantis Kitchens, the exhibition has five stations where visitors put on headphones and are guided through the five different accounts of the floods, moving between panels as the interviews progress.
“The five stories are from a range of people living in Kendal, of different age groups and professions, so each give a unique angle on the experience of flooding,” says Mike. “Then, after viewing the exhibition, attendees are encouraged to draw a little portrait and write their own experience of flooding or extreme weather connected to climate change.
“Through this the exhibition will grow and evolve while it is on. In the room there will be an atmospheric soundtrack playing of wind, rain and water; while around the room there will be bits of art marking the history of flooding in Kendal.”
One of the stories comes from the perspective of Graham Standring, an area ranger with the Lake District National Park, who has been actively involved in the flood recovery work across the park. “Through Five Bridges, people will be able to hear how the floods affected communities in the National Park and how we’re beginning to repair our footpaths and bridges that are used by millions of people every year. We’ve been working hard to ensure the majority of the park was open and accessible ahead of the summer, but there’s still repair work to be done.
“One thing remains unchanged though – you will always find a warm welcome in the Lake District.”
For more on LICAF visit the site here.