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Where art and environmental activism intersect: Ally's story

This article appears in: Creative and Performing Arts, TAFE
CDU Arts student studying outdoors

When asked to describe herself, creative arts student Ally Peckett digs deep: “I’m a passionate interdisciplinary eco-feminist artist who connects aesthetic creativity and narratives about social and environmental themes.”

Environmental themes certainly resonate in the work Ally's done while studying creative arts at CDU

During her studies, Ally created Nightcliff Dystopia: Into the Blue in collaboration with other visual arts students. The work was a series of three images that depicted a strong environmental message about plastic and the ocean. The series was presented in the lightboxes that are part of the CityLife Darwin Live platform.

Other environmentally conscious works followed, including Don’t become a Mermaid. It’s not BPA free, a work created using thin drop sheet plastic on wet human skin to evoke oceanic creatures and the impact experienced by plastic pollution.

My artistic intention was to comment on a major environmental issue while capturing people’s attention through aesthetically surprising imagery.

CDU Creative Arts student standing infront of a wall covered in colourful graffitti
Ally Peckett


Along the way, Ally’s work has attracted kudos. While studying a Certificate IV in Visual Arts at Charles Darwin University, Ally received the Best Emerging Artist Award at the Transpirrie Exhibition. She also received the Edgar Dunis Art Scholarship while studying creative arts at CDU

Being recognised as an artist

Ally's path to artistic recognition hasn’t always been easy.

“My dream has always been to study creative arts at university, but most of my family didn’t complete tertiary education, so I didn’t get a lot of support or understanding from them for my desire to study. Which was unfortunate. Now though, my family sees how much I have grown and succeeded in my study, and that’s had a positive effect on how they view my education,” said Ally.

And Ally has advice for prospective students who aren’t sure if they’re ready for higher education.

If you haven’t studied for a while or need to improve on your grades from high school, enrol in CDU’s free Tertiary Enabling Program (TEP). This will help you lay the academic foundations to help you succeed as an undergraduate. It’s also about mindset—you have to believe in yourself too.

Student smiling with phone in hand with a graffiti background


What’s next for this prolific artist?

“At this stage I can’t give you a specific job title. But I can say that it will be along the lines of art and health, art and community-based projects and future research. And I would like to do my master’s and hopefully a PhD. My wish is to dedicate the rest of my life to the celebration of socially-minded creativity and research,” said Ally.

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