Oceanarium Banner Updated March

Oceanarium is a multi-artwork collaborative art project that will culminate with the presentation of an immersive, child centred installation at Warrnambool’s 2016 Fun4Kids Festival. Four local artists working across textiles, mixed media sculpture and film will partner with marine biologists from Warrnambool’s Deakin University to make interconnected art spaces that generate one cohesive installation. Playing on the concept of “marine biomes” the artists will combine different media and materials to create “art biomes” that mimic the sensory richness of the area’s marine world. A curated program of community events will enable community members to participate in and contribute to Oceanarium in the lead-up to the festival.

Oceanarium emerged from the joy and wonder Lead Artist Becky Nevin Berger experienced when visiting Warrnambool’s rock pools with her young family. Realizing that wintery weather prohibited families, visiting the region for the Fun4Kids Festival, from experiencing the rock pools led to the idea of instead simulating this environment indoors.

After almost two years in development the celebration of place that Oceanarium embodies has grown. In forming collaborations with artists, marine biologists, Fun4Kids Festival management and other community partners Oceanarium has the potential to engage many hundreds of people on a unique arts led program that celebrates and enriches local knowledge, culture, community and landscape.

The Oceanarium installation will extend across 250 square meters of exhibition space at the Warrnambool Art Gallery during Fun4Kids 2016. It will be comprised of the following installation works:

Rocky Shore Wonder Place, by Becky Nevin Berger

A 95 meter square expanse of rock pools crafted from reinforced ply board and presented in three sections. Designed to be climbed on these timber formations will be surfaced with many different tactile materials. Coloured Perspex, LED strip lighting will animate this sculpted shoreline. Rock pools, caverns and trap door rock flaps will be inhabited by marine life represented through sculpture, textiles, engraving and painting.

Deep Ocean Other World by Karen Richards

This intriguing space will recreate the mysterious, dark world found in the deep waters beyond the continental shelf. Three dimensional embroidered sculptures will be crafted from glass coated thread design to be activated by light. In this guided journey children and families will find giant squid, coral gardens and angler fish illuminated only by their head torches.

Woven Forest Whale Sanctuary, by Deb Saunders

This dense, three meter high “Woven Kelp Forest” will be made of woven fabric and enchanted by the sounds of whale songs and coloured lights. This collaborative textile sculpture will entail community workshops prior to, and embedded within the Fun4Kids Festival. Deb Saunders will construct the large woven artwork using material produced through community based workshops. Children and families will add to the woven forest through guided workshops within the festival.

Open Ocean Video Sphere, Colleen Hughson

This work will be presented across multiple video channels that use high and low tech ideas to produce an interactive video space. The footage in this space will be crowd sourced from local community member’s underwater, surf and coastal footage. Children will play in this space using different objects and reflective surfaces to manipulate the projected light.

Colleen will also contribute to two other video spaces within the Rocky Shore Wonder Place. First will be experimental videos made by participants in a series of film making workshops delivered by Colleen in the pre-festival program.  These films will use crowd sourced footage and Deakin University Marine Biology footage and will be played on analogue television screens embedded in the Rocky Shore sculpture. Second will be a series of experimental films made solely by Colleen designed to interact with a section of the Rocky Shore sculpture.

Interaction and Participation

A participatory program in which children take on the role of “Explorers of Marine Creativity” will build on the tactile and interactive design of the Oceanarium installation. The content and format of this participatory activity will be developed in conjunction with the Lead Artist, Warrnambool Art Gallery’s Education Officer and the Marine Biologists.

Community members are invited to be involved in Oceanarium through a series of opportunities which include: submitting footage to the Open Ocean Video Sphere Film Callout; participating in Experimental Film Making Workshops; and Weaving workshops offered to community workshops as well as at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, the Flagstaff Hill “Day on the Hill” and the Warrnambool Art Gallery. Local students will also benefit from a series of Weaving & Film Making Workshops presented in schools.


Becky Nevin Berger – visual artist

As Oceanarium’s lead artist Becky will work with Fun4Kids management, the other artists, Deakin’s marine biologists and community partners. She will coordinate the overall installation design and will also assist in running community workshops.

As an artist collaborating in the project, Becky will create the Rocky Shore Wonder Place Art Biome– a sculpture based, interactive artwork that mimics a rock pool environment.

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1_Lyndoch_ Sensory Garden

Lyndoch Sensory Garden, 2007-08

 Becky Nevin Berger & Julie Poi Kelly. “Up the Garden Path Project” Lyndoch Aged Care Warrnambool & Abbeyfield Hostel Mortlake. Winner of Victorian Government “Go for Your Life” Award 2008


Resize_Maternal Interstice

Maternal Interstice, multi artform installation, 2010

Becky Nevin Berger. Warrnambool Art Gallery

Resize_Light House Chamber Observatory_1

Light House Chamber Observatory, multi artform play space, 2013

Becky Nevin Berger in collaboration with Macarthur Men’s Shed. “Kitchen Table Art Expedition”, Arts Victoria Artist in Schools Project, Macarthur Primary School

Resize_Wave Funnel

Shower Funnel Wave Form – Standing in this river on its way out to the sea, mixed media sculpture with sound, 2015

 Becky Nevin Berger. To be presented at 2015 BEAMS Art Festival, Chippendale Sydney

Gaia is Symbiosis as seen from Space- extract from shortfilm, participatory artwork, 2015

 Becky Nevin Berger. “Kitchen Table Art Expedition”, Arts Victoria Artist in Schools Project, Macarthur Primary School



Colleen Hughson – film maker

Colleen will work closely with Deakin University Marine Biologists, the lead artist and workshop participants to create Open Ocean Video Sphere Art Biome, a multichannel tactile video installation. She will present 24 film making workshops in the Pre-Festival Program.

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Flora, 3 Channel Video, 2014

Colleen Hughson and Carmel Wallace. “Four”, Portland Arts Centre.  Collaborative artwork for the Virtual Arboretum, Portland.


Landscapes and Locals, film extract, 2014

Colleen Hughson. “Snapshots” Collaborative film making project with Peterborough community members, supported by Moyne Shire Pitch Project Initiative


Landscapes and Locals, Window Installation , 2015

Colleen Hughson. Film screening at Celebrate Peterborough: Fireworks and Film Event. With live music by John Hudson and Matt Hewson

How Does It Make You Feel? multi channel video installation, 2014

Colleen Hughson, “FOUR” Group Exhibition, Portland Arts Centre


Deb Saunders – visual artist

Deb will work closely with the lead artist, Deakin University Marine Biologists and workshop participants to create the Woven Forest Whale Sanctuary Art Biome, an immersive textile installation inspired by underwater kelp forests. She will present a series of weaving workshops at selected civic events and will provide training to the lead artist and other workshop staff.

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Microsoft Word - Narraban Sun hats.docx

Nine Knitted Narrabans, Collaborative weaving project, 2013

Deb Saunders. Bonny Upwelling Festival, Portland

Microsoft Word - Narraban Sun hats.docx

Knitted Narrabans, Collaborative weaving project, 2013

Deb Saunders. Bonny Upwelling Festival, Portland


Karen Richards – textile artist

Karen will work closely with the Deakin University Marine Biologists and the lead artist to create the Deep Sea Other World Art Biome, a light active installation using intricate embroidered sculptures to recreate a very deep underwater world. Karen will present an artist floor talk to share the processes and ideas involved in making this work.

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Flora non Evidens2

Flora non Evidens in low-normal light, Installation, 2013

Karen Richards. Light active installation, Warrnambool Art Gallery



Flora non Evidens- Yellow Gum (Installation detail), machine knitting and embroidery, 2013

Karen Richards. Light active installation, Warrnambool Art Gallery

RICHARDS, metallic sun orchids in directional light,, 2015 machine knitting and embroidery small

Metalic Sun Orchids in directional light, machine knitting and embroidery, 2015

Karen Richards


Flora non Evidens, Video of light active installation, 2015

Karen Richards. Installation of light reflective embroidery panels showing endangered plants from around Victoria. Film recording made at Warrnambool Art Gallery. This installation is currently on tour nationally.