CCCNN covers the Mangroves from the Water exhibition

Thank you to CCCNN – Climate Change Communication and Narratives Network – for highlighting the Mangroves from the Water exhibition in Geelong held in August and recognizing our founder and curator Zahidah Zeytoun Millie (member).

Please view their website to see the post and read all about the CCCNN’s mission and the wonderful work they do.

About the CCCNN:

Network focus

The Climate Change Communication and Narratives Network (CCCNN) seeks to complement existing climate change-related research activity at Deakin, critically focusing on the politics and practices of climate change narration and communication in a time of climate emergency.

This includes analysis of the assumptions, intentions, strategies and tools of climate change narration and communication – or broadly, storytelling – in public contexts and by stakeholders invested in the structural and imaginative changes required to mitigate climate change.

There are many assumptions about what storytelling is, how it’s done, and what works, in climate change communication. This is reflected in an increasing ubiquity of ‘stories’ in organisational responses to climate change, focused on public engagement.

As a network, we aim to explore nuanced, critically formed ways of thinking about storytelling and its capacities. We ask what is best practice in climate change communication that draws on this nuance and how is climate change communication being done, what are its limits, and who does it exclude? How can climate communication strategies innovate to engage with diverse demographics and multiple communities?

An outward-facing imperative

Our imperative is outward facing: scientists tell us we have less than ten years to avert the worst impacts of climate change. What we need now is real-world action and effective change.

We aim to contribute to climate change action and mitigation beyond the rhetorical and theoretical, while still interrogating our own knowledges, practices and histories within the academy, and contributing generatively to these.

Video of the Mangroves from the Water exhibition opening

We are so excited to share this video capturing the official opening of our Mangroves from the Water exhibition, 14 August, Gordon Gallery, Geelong.

To view the complete video, please visit our Mangroves from the Water YouTube page.

A huge thank you to Phil Hines for all the photography on the day, and creating this video.

Here is a shorter version giving a quick overview of the show:

The reveal ! – monoprint workshop with Nicola

Nicola Cerini led a monoprint workshop in the Gordon Gallery, in front of her beautiful printed linen artworks.

Monoprint is an easy instant and one-off original printing process and we highly recommend you try your hand at this technique.

A rough interpretation of the technique: The participants use various coloured ink on a plate (usually a simple piece of glass), and introduce various ways of mark-making from scratching to drawing directly into the ink. Thereafter, paper is placed on top and the ink is transferred by rolling with a brayer (this could be done with strong hands or even a spoon, but even pressure is advised). Peel the paper off the plate, and reveal the masterpiece!

Here are a couple of images of the reveals, and the process…

Look at the dancers at Jacqui’s workshop

Jacqui Dreessens, from Wild Moves International, led a fabulously fun interpretive dance and movement workshop in conjunction with her live dance and video performance titled Echelons (2021) at the Mangroves from the Water exhibition. During the official opening day on Saturday 14 Aug, the participants followed her instructions to feel inspired by nature and mangroves to experience, interpret and become at one with nature.

Unfortunately a few participants had to remain in lockdown, but do spot out very own curator Zahidah busting some cool moves!

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.

The beautiful paintings of Helen Martin

The beautiful paintings of Helen Martin conveys a touching fondness for her husband by translating his deep-rooted connection to the mangroves, Her skill as a painter is evident in the atmospheric depictions of mangrove trees as seen in the images below, manifesting the vibrancy and liveliness through brush strokes and play of light.

Helen’s artist statement:

For the Mangroves from the Water Exhibition, Helen is collaborating with her husband Peter Martin, who has a deep affinity with mangroves having grown up playing and exploring them on the shore in front of his family home at Peek’s Point, East Gosford in New South Wales – on Darkinjung Country. 

Her works for the exhibition draw on recent images of a small stand of white mangroves planted in the early 1960s by the five Martin boys at shoreline of Broken Bay. These young boys were motivated to plant mangrove seedlings they had found nearby in response to the degradation and destruction of the local mangroves, their playground, caused by unabashed urban development. The mangroves were seeded in the rocky foreshore among the clusters of native oysters, and over the past 50 years thrived, creating a new habitat.

Helen Martin’s paintings: ‘Mangroves at Peek’s Point, Darkinjung Country: a Martin Legacy I-V’, 2021.

“The girl who fell in love with the mangroves” : sneak preview!

We are so proud of the variety of multi-media on offer at the next Mangroves from the Water exhibition.

Here is a preview to entice you to visit the Gordon Gallery.

Geraldine Chansard collaborated with director Pauline Dupin to create this heartwarming tale in a short video.

You can follow the news thread on Geraldine’s crowdfunding page to see the development of this project, as well as contribute to realize her dream:

Humans in Geelong

Huge thank you to the Humans in Geelong for their continued support to Mangroves from the Water. Here is an interview they posted with curator Zahidah Zeytoun Millie…

‘What I have been preparing to say is, that in wilderness is the preservation of the world.’ HD Thoreau“

I moved to Geelong from the United Arab Emirates in 2017. I was happy to discover the mangrove forests at Barwon Heads and began to learn the history of the land around my new home. I researched how the mangrove landscapes of the Port Phillip and coastal fringe areas were irrevocably transformed by colonial occupation. I also discovered that such change has caused a loss of biodiversity that unfortunately is now a feature of Australia’s ecology.” Zahidah Zeytoun Millie tells us more.

“Mangroves – Vanguards of the Sea. Ecologically important in linking land and sea, mangroves are part of Nature’s wilderness. The estuarine forests along northern Australia’s coastline are at risk, as stated by the Australian Government, Department of Environment and Energy. In southern Australia, though, where wilderness areas have suffered all so greatly, mangrove forests are rarely noticed or celebrated. A common perception of the beauty of the Victorian coastline is white sandy beaches, not an estuarine forest of mangrove trees. Searching tourism and environment websites of the Barwon Heads region where mangroves surround Lake Connewarre I find information about ocean greens relating to golf clubs and white sandy beaches for surfing, swimming, or walking. One can be amazed by plants like bull kelp, sandstone arches and sponge gardens, yet nothing about mangroves.

“A question often comes to mind: why the mangrove forest is not considered a place to visit, and to enjoy for its abundant wildlife? Kayaking within mangroves provides a wonderful opportunity to contemplate birds, crabs and fish. How can mangrove forests be so neglected? Surely, they cannot be considered ugly!“

As an artist and a curator, I believe the mangroves story deserves a collective story like the mangroves roots intertwine and interconnect. By gathering a team of collaborating artists from different backgrounds and using a variety of media, I have curated a festival of multimedia art that surrounds the viewer and depicts the story of the mangroves and wetlands. My aim is to confront the viewer and to touch their emotions to feel deeply about the strong connection between humanity and the surrounding natural world.

“The artists intend to present a multi-disciplinary art exhibition of works set on the theme Mangroves from the Water. The project members approach the theme with a fascinating range of media: impressionist water colours from a kayak, paintings, short films, weaving, sculpture, performance dance and an installation of printed textiles.

“Our exhibition is very grateful for the support of the City of Greater Geelong and also community support in the Geelong region and abroad including Humans in Geelong and the Barwon Estuary Project (Students of Barwon Heads Primary School), and also with the student environmental group Kids Thrive of Northern Bay College in Corio. The Sharjah Heritage Institute from the UAE is the exhibition’s ongoing supporter providing heritage books, a folk/human connection to mangroves, magazines and an Arab majlis (sitting place). The connection is ongoing as the Institute is to donate these exhibits to the School of Humanities and Social Studies at Deakin University.

“We were planning to open on 26 July 2021, International Day for the Preservation of Mangrove Ecosystems. However, with the extended lockdown the exhibition will open on Saturday 7 August and close on Wednesday 18 August. It can be viewed daily from 11am – 4pm at the Gordon Gallery, 2 Fenwick St, Geelong.

“I will share my experience in workshops. Participating artists will conduct workshops in printing, painting and storytelling.

“Mangroves from the Water started as an art campaign in the UAE in 2014 with a series of multimedia group art exhibitions and a 2017 Mangroves Festival. The art campaign is to continue from International Mangroves Day 26 July 2021 in Geelong, Australia.”

Zahidah Zeytoun Millie,

‘Mangroves from the Water’ founder & curator.

Photo: Contributing Artists

Happy International Mangrove Day !!!

Mangroves: Australia – thanks to Jacqui Dreessens for the video

Today is the International Day of the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem , 26th July.

Declared by UNESCO, this day is to “to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and uses”.

Mangroves: United Arab Emirates – thanks to Geraldine Chansard for the video

We hoped to open our multi-media exhibition, with amazing events and workshops, honouring today. Due to Covid we had to postpone the opening until 7th August. Still, we will celebrate and commemorate this important day!

Zahidah Zeytoun Millie donated her artwork to Wasit Wetland Center, Sharjah

Zahidah donated her work Mangroves from the Water 3D (2015) to the Wasit Wetland Center in Sharjah.

Zahidah created a 3D sculpture of her experience in the mangrove after finding this piece of a mangrove tree destroyed by the local farmers and fisherman. Mixed with found objects from the Umm Al Quwain mangroves, they are set in a pool of clear resin to simulate the water and draped with natural wools reminiscent of the mossy grass/seaweeds found on site.