Wish Upon a Jellyfish Installation at Darwin Festival 2021
Did you know that the collective noun for jellyfish is a smack? You may be surprised to find 100 illuminated creatures dangling from trees in the middle of Festival Park, far removed from their natural marine habitat.
Yet, this ‘smack attack’ is less absurd than it sounds. Jellyfish are the ultimate survivors and many species are thriving globally because of climate related mechanisms at work, providing perfect conditions for them to go forth and multiply on mass. Scientists have been getting their tentacles in a twist with recent studies finding the humble jellyfish may provide solutions towards plastic pollution in the sea, nutrition and medicine.
Multidisciplinary home-grown fibre artist Aly de Groot celebrates the unique fauna and flora of the Top End, with an emphasis on the importance of preservation. Long fascinated by the beautiful but dangerous box jellyfish, Aly combines this obsession with her other passions for marine conservation and basketry to create ethereal jellyfish art-forms from discarded fishing line and recycled fabrics – entire fleets of them, both large and small, matching their proliferation in the seas.
A winner of the Territory’s prestigious TOGA art Contemporary Art Prize in 2013, Aly has reached a diverse audience during her career via numerous exhibitions, workshops and public installations across Australia, including several permanent sculptures dotted along Darwin’s foreshore. These include a flock of migratory sea-birds stationed at Lee Point, a mother and her baby dugongs overlooking the Dripstone Cliffs and, naturally, a pair of prominent bronze jellyfish patrolling the entrance to the East Point Nature Reserve.
After recent appearances at the South Australian Museum, Melbourne Zoo and as far afield as France, Aly’s jellyfish smack will return to their northern breeding grounds en masse for a colourful home-town appearance throughout Darwin Festival. Wish Upon A Jellyfish invites you to take a moment with one of these luminous creations to weave a wish for a brighter future.