Curator’s Statement from Zahidah Zeytoun Millie


Mangroves from the Water

Curator’s Introductory Statement – Zahidah Zeytoun Millie

I hold a Masters of Visual Arts from Monash University and I have been running a mangroves campaign since 2012.  I started kayaking and painting among mangroves to soothe my constant concern for my unsettled country Syria.

I’m very much aware that mangrove forests contain some of the highest carbon eating stocks of any forest type.  Experiences in discovering mangroves lead to my founding the  ‘Mangroves from the Water’ team of artists to commence touring with an exhibition (2015-2016) and the 2017 Mangroves Festival.  The latter project aimed to raise awareness of the importance of native trees; the four day art and culture festival occurred next to the mangroves in the UAE emirate of Umm Al Quwain between 8 and 11 March 2017.

Having moved to Geelong in mid June 2017, kayaking and painting the mangroves of the Barwon region provided an opportunity to discover a new history and society.  The mangroves of both countries are not appreciated in art as a landscape subject and not very well protected, which encouraged me to pursue further studies to understand the culture and the land in Australia to be able to support mangroves and the wetlands.

‘Mangroves from the Water’ is to continue its journey in Australia and beyond, the upcoming exhibition will open on 14 August 2021 at the Gordon Gallery, Gordon-Geelong City Campus Institute, Waterfront, Geelong.

Geraldine Chansard, Stephanie Neville and Alexis Gambis are ‘Mangroves from the Water’ dedicated artists to continue exhibiting along with the local Australian artists.

The Artists

Australia possesses people of multicultural backgrounds, ethnic and indigenous Aboriginal.  We artists in the exhibition project represent this diversity, being from all over the world.  The 13 artists  intend to present a multi-media art exhibition of works set on the theme Mangroves from the Water.  We all have something to tell.  We want to protect our mother Earth and to generate peace and love on land.  When we give love, we receive love; just as the philosopher Ferry points out in his ‘Revolution of Love’.  I think that form, be it musical, visual or verbal, moves us deeply because of the unconscious meaning embodied in symbolism.

Alexis Gambis, Nicola Cerini, Enrico Santucci, Deb Taylor, Richard Collopy, Jacqui Dreessens, Stephanie Neville, Geraldine Chansard, Helen and Peter Martin, Malcolm Gardiner and Zahidah Zeytoun Millie.


The Guest Speakers

  1. Dr Oscar Serrano, ARC DECRA Fellow, Senior Research Scientist at the Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research School of Science, Edith Cowan University.
  2. Zoe Brittain, a research assistant in the Faculty of Arts & Education at Deakin University, Melbourne Burwood Campus.
  3. Fr Peter Martin, Anglican Parish Priest of the Parish of St George the Martyr in Queenscliff & Point Lonsdale and environmentalist.   Here is a link to a recent Geelong Community Radio thePulse interview with Fr Peter:
  4. Malcolm Gardiner, author and environmentalist, Kawarren (

Proposed Media

2D Painting Photography Short film Indigenous weaving
3D Sculpture Installation Performance dance Performance music


The exhibition event will run from 11 – 18th August 2021 and coincide with the Australian Science Week (15-23 August).   Exciting workshops will occur throughout the period of the multimedia exhibition – including two 2 hour sessions watercolour sketching from kayaks in the mangroves! Guest speakers will also present ideas connected to the themes of the exhibition. The program for events will be shared closer to the date.

I thank you for your continued support,

Zahidah Zeytoun Millie