Big Croc Travels Australia

The Big Croc being created at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2011. A joint effort from Ghost Net Art Project artists and the public. Photo by Cecile Williams.

Big Croc Travels Australia

GhostNets Australia has been a regular presence at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), but the 2011 year's statement eclipsed all the others in terms of vision and outcome. Artists Cecile Williams Karen Hethey joined forces with Torres Straits artists Angela Torenbeek, Frank Petero, and Georgia Curry to create a giant articulated crocodile.

Working against time with a frame constructed of bamboo and cane, the croc took shape. Ghost net collected off western Cape York beaches by the Mapoon Land and Sea and Napranum Rangers, formed the skin of the giant puppet which spanned approximately 12metres in length.

Frank single-handedly made the armature for the tail while Georgia and Angela worked with members of the public making the patches that make up the skin of the croc. Darnley Islander Jimmy Thaiday was a great help with the teeth and claws. Scores of people attending the art fair dropped past and joined in. These included kids from a local school, as well as stall holders from the festival and many of the thousands of people that passed through to enjoy the art and music of CIAF.

“You cannot underestimate the positive action gained by awareness raising though art events like this,” said Riki Gunn, coordinator of GhostNets Australia, who was clearly overawed by the result of that years’ CIAF. “Outcomes for our small NGO from this event will have a fabulous ripple effect both locally and internationally“ she said, keeping a tight lid on the specifics.And so right she was for the Croc has travelled the country....

If you were in Sydney during Oct-Nov 2012 you will have had the opportunity to do a bit of croc spotting at Bondi Beach. Lurking on the rocks on the south side of the beach, at the beginning of the walk to Tamarama, was the huge ghost net crocodile as part of the annual Sculpture by the Sea Festival. As well as the croc display, GNA facilitated a workshop with school children at Tamarama Beach. The kids loved the croc so much they awarded it their choice or best sculpture of the event.By March 2013 the Ghost Net Croc had made the trip across the continent to Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia for the annual Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe event. As well as the croc three ghost net figures from Darnley Island in the Torres Strait - two of which are pictured - were on display at Sculpture Inside being held at Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club in conjunction with Sculpture by the Sea.

Croc was then seen in Townsville at the Strand Ephemera event in July 2013. From there it travelled back to Perth where it now permanently resides in the Western Austrian Museum. It deserves a good rest after all the kilometres it has travelled over dry land.

Photo below: GNA Project Officer Jen Goldberg helping out.