Announcement: Winning Short Film at RAK Fine Arts Festival 2023

Winning Short Film Announcement, 8 February 2023

Congratulations to the team behind the short film ‘The Girl who Fell in Love with the Mangroves’ for winning the first prize in the RAK Fine Arts Festival 2023.  This film was part of the Mangroves from the Water 2021 exhibition in Geelong, Australia.  We hope the prize will encourage film producers to create more inspiring films for the mangroves.

We’d like to congratulate the writer and film director Pauline Dupin, and also Rakhi Sawalani who acted the main character ‘the Girl’. 

Rakhi Sawalani and Pauline Dupin

We also acknowledge Geraldine Chansard, the film executive and the creator of Woman from the Mangroves, the sculpture featured in the film.

Geraldine Chansard and Pauline Dupin
Geraldine Chansard and Pauline Dupin

On this occasion we’d also like to thank the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and the Chairman Dr Abd Aziz Al Musallam for their continuous support to the mangroves and our art campaign, Mangroves from the Water (MFTW).  We thank the Institute for publishing extra issues of a special edition of Marawed magazine that focuses on the mangroves as part of Emirati Heritage.

To follow up the news about the winning film, please open these links:

Zahidah Zeytoun Millie

MFTW Founder and Curator

Mangroves from the Water Exhibition photos

It’s with great pleasure that we are able to share these images with you from our official opening on Saturday 14 August 2021.

Thanks to the Gordon Gallery, the City of Greater Geelong, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, , the Barwon Estuary Project and Humans of Geelong for their support in realising this show.

The opening began with a Welcome to Wadawurrung Country by Elder Nikki McKenzie, supported by Norm Stanley on the didgeridoo; a ceremony we all acknowledged as befitting the themes and depth of our project and our regard for the mangrove landscape. 

We were honoured that Libby Coker MP officially opened the event and we’re grateful for her important words and interest in our project.

Curator Zahidah Zeytoun Millie acknowledged the support of our partners and introduced the work of our 13 artists, all focused on raising awareness of the beauty and importance of mangroves.

To Peter Martin, thank you for presenting the opening oration so eloquently.

The afternoon gave our 50 visitors (we were restricted by Covid 19!) a fascinating range of perspectives that included a human element in addition to the multi media artwork.  Choreographic artist Jacqui Dreessens performed a sensorial interpretation of mangroves in dance with video, and Richard Collopy presented a passionate talk on a traditional owner’s perspective of mangroves.  Viewers were enthralled by the depth of thought and detail presented in the multi media Mangroves from the Art exhibition. 

We are very grateful to everyone who came out to support us, especially during this difficult time with lockdowns.  We were sad to miss a few of the artists not being able to attend – some stuck locally (Nicola Cerini and Kerrie Taylor), and some abroad (Geraldine Chansard in Belgium, Stephanie Neville in the UAE and Alexis Gambis in France).

Credit for all images goes to photographer Phil Hines.  Our thanks to MC Daniel Zeytoun Millie.

Schedule of events

Here is the schedule of talks, events and performances during our exhibition:

Mangroves from the water

Gordon Gallery, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

26 July – 15 August

The exhibition will provide viewers with a range of media to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. The artists also hope to see discussions occurring throughout the exhibition in a series of colloquia.

The artists are:

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

 The exhibition event will open on International Mangroves Day, 26 July, and end on 15 August 2020 during National Science Week (15-23 August).   Workshops on weaving, printing and painting will run during the multimedia exhibition and guest speakers will present related talks on mangroves and the Barwon region.

Guest speakers:

Date/Time Guest Speaker Location Title
15 Aug,


Oskar Serrano Deakin University Coastal wetlands as weapons for climate change mitigation and time capsules of the human past
15 Aug, 1100-1200 Peter Martin Deakin University For the Beauty of the Earth


Workshops schedule:                                                                 

Date/Time Presenter Workshop Location Materials
31 Jul,


14 Aug,


7 Aug,


Zahidah Zeytoun Millie Kayaking/water colour sketching. Barwon River, Barwon Heads

Hovells Creek

Water colours, sketch book, kayak (self provided)
1 Aug, 1000-1600 Helen Martin Eco printing Point Lonsdale
2 Aug,



Deb Taylor 2 hour collage

and paint


Project Space Gallery
26 Jul,



8 Aug, 1400-6500


 22 Aug,


Jacqueline Dreessens Environmental Dance  Interpretation The Project Space Gallery

Hovells Creek


theatre TBC

15 Aug,


Nicola Cerini Interpreting the mangroves: printing on plywood The School of Lost Arts

 Live Performances

Date/Time Presenter Performance Location
Live music Project Space Gallery
26 July


Jacqueline Dreessens Environmental Dance  Interpretation The Project Space Gallery

Announcement from our curator Zahidah

I am happy to announce about the multimedia ‘Mangroves from the Water in Geelong’ exhibition to open on the Mangroves Day, 26 July, 2020 at the Gordon Gallery, Deakin University, Waterfront.
The Mangroves from the Water project members believe that through their art they can build awareness of the importance of protecting this important natural ecosystem.

Art has a power to inform any culture about ideas that matter.

The project members approach the theme with a fascinating range of media: painting, short film, textile, sculpture, performance dance, performance music and an art installation. The mangrove artists and our quest speakers will present a fascinating approach to celebrating the wonders of this unique habitat through art and science.

More information about the exhibition and artists involved to be announced by May 2020.

Do tune in to Masainakum Masoonah on 94.7FM The Pulse, where I will interview participating artists in July!

Zahidah Zeytoun Millie

Announcing our collaboration with Ocean Tree Studios

Mangroves from the Water exhibition is happy to collaborate with Ocean Tree Studios in Florida, USA to join the world celebration of the mangroves and wetlands on the International Mangroves Day.


Ocean Tree Studios is an environmental conservation organization founded in 2017 by Maya Greven (Founder, Creative Director).

Their mission is inspired by the magnificent mangrove, the tremendous legacy of Doris Leeper and the cross-pollination of art and science. They are dedicated to inspiring sustainable behavior, healthy habitats, expanding living shorelines and promoting the use of native plants through educational outreach and land conservancy programs that utilize the arts, culture and community-engaged design for the benefit of the Indian River Lagoon and for the greater public health of the surrounding communities.

“We believe that in restoring our landscape, we are restoring ourselves. Through community engagement, collaborative and creative efforts we hope to promote and further conservation efforts.” – Maya Greven


And so does the Mangroves from the Water team!


Reminder: ‘Mangroves from the Water’ is a group multimedia art exhibition will open on the International Mangroves Day 26 July and will end on 15 August on the opening day of the National Science Week, 15-23 August.

A glimpse into the creative development process of Jacqui Dreessens

It is always interesting to know how artists/performers derive at their final works. We thank Jacqui for giving us a glimpse into her creative process, translating the inspiration from the natural mangrove environment by using images and words and ultimately transforming it into a physical dance performance.

Jacqui in the mangroves

Writing poetry about the Ecology of Place is vital for Jacqui’s dance making process. To begin to describe her sense of place, Jacqui uses verbs, adverbs, adjectives and alliteration.


This helps to unpack her experience from being in and amongst the mangroves while floating in a kayak. These words become the launching pad for movement improvisations in the dance studio.

Seeing inwards
Feeling downwards
Breathing outwards
Growing skywards

Jacqui develops the bodily shapes and movement transitions based on the mangroves, expressing her sensory experiences and memories through the physical bodily form.


For more information, please do visit and follow her on: