Incoming Tide

Date 22 September - 29 October 2022
Location JGM Gallery, London, UK

Incoming Tide / JGM Gallery

22 September – 29 October 2022
Private View: Tuesday 27 September, 6.30 – 8.30pm

To mark the start of the Autumn season, JGM Gallery is exhibiting Incoming Tide at its Battersea space, featuring works by Australia’s cross-cultural Ghost Net Collective.

The exhibition includes sculptures of familiar sea creatures, both predators and prey. Ranging from sharks and crocodiles to rays and sardines, the sculptures are woven from the mesh of recycled fishing nets (‘Ghost Nets’), dumped in the ocean or set adrift in storms.

Incoming Tide follows the success of Caught in the Net (2019), JGM Gallery’s first exhibition in partnership with Erub Arts, a founding member of the Ghost Net Collective.

Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi, Director of JGM Gallery, says: “The artists have woven together their concerns for the environment with traditional seafaring stories from Aboriginal culture. They have used art to help understand and make sense of the world – our world – and of what is happening to the oceans.”

Lynnette Griffiths, Director of the Ghost Net Collective, says: “The incoming tide – which in Torres Strait Creole is tide ya kum untap nau (the tide comes on top now) – brings not only debris from elsewhere, but also fresh new water, symbolising a new beginning, whatever and however that might appear.”

Incoming Tide | Introduction by Julius Killerby (Manager of JGM Gallery)

There is an intriguing contradiction between form and content in Incoming Tide. We are presented with beautiful sea creatures, yet they are made from repurposed Ghost Nets, one of the most damaging marine pollutants and predators. They are, in a sense, constructed with the substance most opposite to them, the very material that is killing them. These works do not only function as graceful sculptures, then, but as stark warnings about the future of marine biology.

It is hard to think of a more fitting symbol for the environmental crisis than a Ghost Net. Much like global warming and pollution, they exist as a colossal, relatively slow-moving menace in the abyss. Because they are beneath the surface they also exist, much like the issue, almost as an abstraction. Until, of course, they are not just an abstraction, but a catastrophe, strangling reefs and washing up on beaches. Incoming Tide counters the abstractness of this issue, placing it in a human context – an art gallery. The audience find themselves unintimidated by these sublime creatures which, far from instilling fear as they might in their natural environment, incline us to touch and walk around them.

That is perhaps the great achievement of this exhibition. The way the works are presented puts the audience in the world, proportionately and positionally, of these sea creatures, countering any apathy to the issue. The exhibit forces us to engage with the problem of marine pollution, to see things from the sea creatures perspective. In this context, we can appreciate every detail of the creatures whose well-being we have too long ignored.

Image: Jimmy Kenny Thaiday ‘Jimmy’ 2022 Ghost Net, Rope, WireFrame, 143 x 50 x 54cm.

About the Collective

  • The Ghost Net Collective was officially founded in 2020. It includes artists from the Torres Strait Islands, an archipelago stretching towards Papua New Guinea, and from the Queensland coast, close to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

    Ghost Nets are among the most harmful types of plastic in the ocean. The nets become a predator of the natural world, strangling see mammals, damaging coral and killing fish.

    The Ghost Net Collective is renowned for making large outdoor installations, as well as smaller-scale works. Their pieces are found in private and public art collections around the world, including in Sydney’s National Maritime Museum and The British Museum.

    Ghost Net artists whose work features in Incoming Tide include Marion Gaemers, Emma Gela, Lynnette Griffiths, Florence Gutchen, Lavinia Ketchell, Nancy Naawi, Racy Oui-Pitt, Ellarose Savage, Jimmy John Thaiday and Jimmy Kenny Thaiday.