Darnley Island, Torres Strait
  • Weres  2014
    Mixed media installation: Ghost net made from found fishing nets; screen printed fabric; and video projection
    Dimensions: 128 x 295 x 115 cm
    Fabric: 410 x 102 cm
    For full artwork credits, see below.
    Photography: Murray Waite
  • Weres (detail of video projection)  2014
    Mixed media installation: Ghost net made from found fishing nets; screen printed fabric; and video projection
    Size variable

Weres (2014) is constructed from derelict and abandoned fishing nets known as ‘ghost nets’. These fishing nets drift the ocean’s currents, indiscriminately catching and killing marine life, delivering a devastating impact on coastlines and reefs along the north of Australia.

Using a cross–cultural and collaborative model, Erub Arts is leading the way in large sculptural forms constructed using this medium, producing woven, wrapped and twined statements about traditional and contemporary island life.

Weres is a traditional fishing tool used to scoop schooling sardines. Men would wade into the water holding the epi (handle) and with the beating of werir (sardine directors) the sardines would be chased through the opening (kerem pek) into the bamboo scoop.

The supersized scoop speaks not only of traditional practices, but how with the upsizing of boats, fishing gear and nets, the world’s oceans are being scoured by super–trawlers taking everything in their path – this Weres is a stark reminder that the mandate for sustainable, responsible fishing belongs to all people.

The vision of this work highlights the transparent qualities of the ocean as the sardines school, bringing movement to a static display. The Weres has a welded steel frame, wrapped in net. The pek (bamboo slats) which create the sides are remodelled rope.

The colourful cloth drape has been screen–printed with images of tidelines and traditional stone fish traps which surround Erub. The words from a traditional weres song, which is danced at celebrations, sits alongside a circling mass of sardines.

Erub Arts
Statement, July 2014

Weres Dance

(sung as dancers enter)

Adar Wed

Kara kebeli e – e eat aba naba kauare ge

(my small boy come to go around the back)

Koki apekem tup areme

(North West side to scoop sardines)

Nawarinoko au megipelie

(while they’re there close to the beach)

(sung during dance)

Kab Wed

Weres were – o – o

Tupmi akemlare ami damelare

(Scoop the sardines and fill the basket)

Tupmi akemlare ami damelare – e – e

Aisare nabakaure wehge – e paitare

(Grab everything and bring to the sandbeach and tip the weres over)

Erub Artists:

Milla Anson

Emma Gela

Florence Gutchen

Lavinia Ketchell

Nancy Kiwat

Nancy Naawi

Racy Oui–Pitt

Alma Sailor

Ellarose Savage

Jimmy Thaiday


Louisa Anson

Cultural and Logistic Liaison:

Kapua Gutchen Snr.

Walter Lui

Moa Sailor

Collaborating Artist:

Ceferino Sabatino

Facilitating Artist:

Lynnette Griffiths

Mentor Artist:

Judy Watson

Support Staff:

Solomon Charlie


Lieu Anson

Robert Mye

Joshua Thaiday

Kathleen Ketchell

Documentation: Jo-Anne Driessens

Courtesy of Erub Arts, Darnley Island
Arts Centre

This project has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Backing Indigenous Arts program.

Erub Artists, 2014
Photography: Jo-Anne Driessens
Erub Artists, 2014
Photography: Jo-Anne Driessens