The beginning of June saw the launch of the Ghost Nets of the Ocean, Au Karem ira Lamur Lu Exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore which will be exhibited at the Museum until 6th August.

This wonderful presentation of art work showcases sea creatures made from ghost nets. Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been left or lost in the ocean by fishermen. These nets drifting in the open sea, endanger the marine environment. Large scale of global fishing operations and introduction of long lasting synthetic fishing nets are contributing to the threat to marine life.
The main exhibition has colourful woven sculptures from discarded fishing nets that have been retrieved off the coasts of Torres Strait, Australia. The sculptures are then created by indigenous and non-indigenous artists from Erub Arts on Darnley Island, Australia.
Students from Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) and White Lodge worked on their own Ghost Net projects along with several other schools in Singapore to contribute to the Tiny Turtles Art Project.

MSIS is a school for students aged 3-21 years that offers a unique and innovative model for teaching students with intellectual and multiple disabilities. Pupils at MSIS have been focusing on learning about Sustainability of the Environment and Conservation of Oceans this term, and they joined the Erub Artists to weave turtles from the discarded fishing nets.

White Lodge is a kindergarten for children aged 6 month – 6.5 years and there are eight centres located throughout Singapore. 380 turtles were produced from the children of White Lodge after focusing on the subject of sea creatures and learning about and the importance of looking after the environment in line with one of White Lodge’s core values of ‘We respect our world’.

The process of making each turtle included meticulously pulling each fibre out of the net, rolling them together and flattening some into the different body parts of the turtle before sewing them together. The tiny turtles tell the story about the ghost net that was meant to catch hauls of fish but was left, torn or washed aboard in a storm. For years, it must have travelled across different oceans, entangling much of the marine life in its course of travel. It was then found by a community of people who continue to make an effort to recycle and reuse the nets thus found.

The Tiny Turtles Art Project of the Ghost Nets of the Ocean, demonstrates the power of projects that weave art, cultural heritage, community participation and storytelling to raise environmental awareness. The students discovered connections with the sea and created awareness of ocean pollution, recycling, reusing and conserving the marine environment.

The opening event to this exhibition was attended by the Prime Minister of Singapore Mr Lee Hsien Loong and the Prime Minister of Australia Mr Malcolm Turnbull. The tiny turtles are located outside the Asian Civilisations Museum and each turtle is labelled with the name of the child who made it.

For more information about MSIS, click here.