NORTHCLIFFE, WA's inaugural Legendairy Capital dairy town, on Saturday will unveil a series of charcoal sculptures commemorating the resilience of its residents during the February 2015 bushfire.
One of the original dairy farmers of the area, 82-year-old Dennis Smeathers is one of 43 local people cast in charcoal by Bridgetown artist Kim Perrier with a Dairy Australia grant for the Legendairy Capital win providing part funding.
Others who submitted to having a cast of their features taken include a local truffle farmer who lost his property in the fire, an avocado farmer, vignerons, beef producers, fire brigade members and Departments of Agriculture and Food WA and Parks and Wildlife employees.
Subjects chosen for Mr Perrier's Rising From the Ashes sculptures were local people who had property destroyed or were integral in some way to helping the communities of Northcliffe and Windy Harbour survive the massive blaze, one of the biggest in WA's history.
Started by a remote lightning strike, the fire raged through forests surrounding Northcliffe for 14 days, destroying up to 150,000 hectares of bush and farm land, with eight dairy farms cut off within the fire perimeter.
The sculptures are placed in trees and will join existing artworks along Northcliffe's 1.2 kilometre Understory Art and Nature Trail.
They will be unveiled by Mr Perrier, who will lead a guided tour and talk about each one from 12.30pm on Saturday, as a part of the weekend's Act-Belong-Commit Southern Forests Art Festival in the town.
Project co-ordinator Fiona Sinclair, who works at the Northcliffe visitor centre and put together the town's Legendairy Capital submission to win the $2500 grant for a community project, described the sculptures as "hauntingly beautiful".
"It's a little unsettling but it's highly appropriate for the story it tells about community spirit and resilience," Ms Sinclair said.
"The subjects say it's uncanny to see themselves portrayed that way but they appreciate being part of such a unique art project."
She said the charcoal art commemorated the role dairy farmers, among others, played in helping to contain the bushfire and their spirit and contribution to the community.
"Dairy is hugely important to Northcliffe," Ms Sinclair said.
"As a town we think we have a significant role to play in the dairy future of the State."
Last year Northcliffe defeated Brunswick Junction and Busselton to win the inaugural title as WA's Legendairy Capital.
A spokeswoman for Dairy Australia said nominations could be called as early as February for the 2017 Legendairy Capital dairy town in each of the eight dairying regions of Australia.
The campaign highlights the contribution dairying has made to regional communities and is run every two years, with 2015 being the inaugural.