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Film to unravel artists’ conservation message

By Leanne Miles

A short-film based on the work of PhD student Aly De Groot recently premiered on iview A short-film based on the work of PhD student Aly De Groot recently premiered on iview

A short film aiming to transport viewers into an eerie and enchanting underwater world to highlight a creative solution to an environmental scourge threatening protected marine species recently premiered online.

The collaborative film based on the work of Charles Darwin University PhD student Aly De Groot and directed by former film student and guest lecturer Timothy Parish titled “Ghost Story: The Art of Aly De Groot” premiered on ABC Arts Online iview.

Mr Parish said the five minute film was an evocative and haunting documentary, which followed the artistic process of textile artist Aly De Groot who reclaims ‘ghosts nets’ – fishing nets lost at sea – and transforms them into beautiful sculptures echoing marine life.

“Ghost Story was shot in Darwin over three days this year,” Mr Parish said. “The majority of the shoot took place at the Darwin Waterfront, using underwater cameras to evoke the artist’s vision of her ‘underwater basket weaving’ series as part of her PhD.”

An accomplished Territory filmmaker, Mr Parish used ‘puppetry’ techniques to breathe life into the artists’ sculptures.

Other scenes included a location shoot at East Point beach where Aly De Groot’s large public sculpture ‘Intertwined’ stands, and her studio at CDU’s Casuarina campus.

Through her PhD Ms De Groot 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. She said the film was one of a variety of platforms she had used to exhibit her work to a wide audience.

“I use salvaged fibres and fishing lines to create sculptures of box jelly fish, or add bones and other materials to create crocodiles and other marine life,” she said.

“The film creates a visual narrative of my studio-based work. It takes people to a space where they can think about the connection between the material I use and the conservation narrative behind the pieces.”

One of Australia’s most celebrated contemporary fibre artists, for Ms De Groot it is not only the textures and beauty of the materials she finds washed ashore but that she can use the materials turning an environmental threat into a benefit. An important aspect of her art practice is sharing her skills. She regularly teaches fibre art workshops for adults and children in the Northern Territory and nationally.

The film is a Resolution Media Production in association with Verb Studios produced in Association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Screen Territory.

The film is part of Art X *North a collection of short arts documentaries curated by ABC Arts Online. For further information or to view the film visit W:

Art X *North is part of ABC Arts’ ongoing talent development project that pairs artists with filmmaking teams to create innovative and evocative short films for a digital-first audience.