Frank Petero / Kirriri (Hammond Island), Torres Strait / Australia b.1953 / Ghost net gear 2008 / Reclaimed, knotted-netted polypropylene fibre / 50 x 30 x 5cm / Purchased 2009. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant / © Frank Petero

Frank Petero
Ghost net gear 2008

On Display: QAG, Gallery 17

Ghost nets — large fishing nets abandoned at sea — pose a massive threat to marine life. The sinister nets, which mainly arrive in Torres Strait waters during the monsoonal season, trap and kill threatened turtle species and large sea mammals, as well as protected fish; they also make commercial and private boating dangerous.

Local sea rangers haul the nets from the water and distribute them to communities on islands such as Kirriri (Hammond Island) and Erub (Darnley Island), who transform the material into works of art. The nets are recycled to create bags and soft sculptures, which are useful and decorative, while also raising public awareness of the environmental concerns of netting practices.