Michael Norman and his Big Crab Ghost Net Sculpture. Image: Pormpuraaw Art and Cultural Centre.

Pormpuraaw artists share an environmental message

Pormpuraaw’s ghost net sculptures continue to enjoy global recognition - their popularity attributed to the important environmental message these works share. Ghost nets are commercial fishing nets illegally abandoned into the sea by commercial fishing vessels. While they should be taken back to land and disposed of, instead many are abandoned and left to drift in ocean currents killing fish, turtles, dolphins and many other species. Rangers and artists from Pormpuraaw collect these nets which are often washed up on local beaches, and turn them into sculptures. The quality of these sculptures have been instrumental in launching the stories from Pormpuraaw onto the world stage at venues such as the United Nations in New York and Geneva, the Paris Aquarium and Kluge-Ruhe in the USA. In Australia the works have been collected by the National Gallery of Victoria, National Museum of Australia in Canberra and the Australian Museum in Sydney.

Along with ghost net sculptures, Pormpuraaw artists are also creating unique painting and printmaking. Syd Bruce Shortjoe, one of Pormpuraaw’s most innovative artists, has just finished a 3D work that resembles a window and is designed for the viewer to put their head in and look around. The work was inspired by Syd’s visit to the Paris Aquarium and looking into a fish tank through a curved glass window. The work is interactive and celebrates his saltwater totems and his appreciation for all sea life. The work will be on display at CIAF 2019.

Pormpuraaw men and women share a long history of weaving. In 2010 the artists produced a number of tapestries and wall hangings, and then stopped making them for a few years. We are pleased to report that our artists have recently returned to making exciting new tapestries which will be unveiled at CIAF 2019. Using a recycled trampoline as its base, the tapestries express the artists traditional cultural values - a celebration of totems and connecting to country and sea. The work is a collaboration by Mylene Holroyd, Christine Holroyd and Christine Yantumba. Printmaking at Pormpuraaw is also an important signature art form which has been greatly developed by the artists over the years - from lino cut prints to now almost exclusively, etchings. Pormpuraaw are fortunate to have excellent printing facilities at their art centre, and the artists look forward to sharing their unique works.

Main image credit: Michael Norman and his Big Crab Ghost Net Sculpture. Image: Pormpuraaw Art and Cultural Centre.

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