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Exhibition signals build-up arrival

By Leanne Miles

The exhibition showcases recent work made as part of Aly De Groot’s studio-based PhD research The exhibition showcases recent work made as part of Aly De Groot’s studio-based PhD research

With the build-up around the corner local artist and Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Aly De Groot has opened her exhibition “The Jellyfish Wars” at the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.

The exhibition showcases recent work made as part of her studio-based PhD research and explores the themes of overfishing and oceanic warming.

“Overfishing, combined with oceanic warming, is creating perfect living and breeding conditions for jellyfish across the planet,” Aly said. “Various species are now found in places they never used to be, often in plague proportions.”

Through her PhD, titled “Underwater Basket Weaving”, she has transformed marine debris into a body of work that looks at the use and importance of fibre art as a mechanism to respond to environmental concerns.

The exhibition features three dimensional jellyfish made from Japanese World War II helmets and fishing line and printed works.

“The helmets are covered in ghost nets, which are another intercontinental marine menace, and a big problem in Northern Australia,” she said. “Fishing boats in Japan have been known to sink because of the weight of an unanticipated haul of giant, pink jellies.”

This work is an extension of her PhD research focused on the use of marine detritus combined with basket-making techniques to extend the conversation about the fragile marine eco-system.

“I create jellyfish and other marine creatures from marine debris to weave a narrative depicting the fragile marine ecosystem and the impertinence of protecting and celebrating it,” Aly said.

“For the two-dimensional prints I used the photographic printing process called Cyanotype to capture the spirit of woven objects, transforming them into one of-a-kind prints on paper.”

A collaborative film based on Aly’s work and directed by former CDU film student and guest lecturer Timothy Parish titled “Ghost Story: The Art of Aly De Groot” will also be screened as part of the exhibition.

Aly De Groot is an increasingly celebrated contemporary fibre artist from Darwin, winning the prestigious Toga Art Award in 2013. Her first major public sculpture “Intertwined” was commissioned by the City of Darwin in 2014 and stands at East Point Nature Reserve. She is a recipient of a Charles Darwin University Post Graduate Research Scholarship.

The exhibition “The Jellyfish Wars” will run at the NCCA’s Screen Room until October 17.