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Karen Richards working on her Oceanium installation

Explore the ocean, indoors

News Article Date: 
Friday, 13 May 2016

Winter isn’t usually beach-going weather, but attendees at next month’s Fun4Kids Festival will be able to explore the richness and variety of Warrnambool’s coastal environment indoors in the Oceanarium zone.

Local artists working across textiles, mixed media, sculpture and film have partnered with marine biologists from Warrnambool’s Deakin University to create interconnected and interactive spaces, each celebrating a different aspect of the marine environment from rock pools to the deep ocean, the coastline to a kelp forest.

Karen Richards has been working with Sue Ferrari to create the “Deep Ocean Other World”, a mysterious habitat full of sea creatures made from light-reflecting thread and embroidered in black mesh hung from the walls and ceiling.

Children are equipped with a head torch and as they look around, the embroidered schools of fish, jellyfish, amphipods, and giant squid tentacles will light up in vibrant silver.

Ms Richards said that it could be easy to forget how magical life below the waves and among the rock pools can be.

“Sometimes when you are at the beach you don’t even realise that there are environments that are really different from each other, but so close together,” she said.

“It’s quite amazing that a lot of the areas of the deep ocean are completely uncharted and that we can go out and explore space but just four kilometres below the water is still a mystery.

“As well as being fun, allowing kids to experience this part of the world that they wouldn’t normally encounter will hopefully foster more interest.”

Other Oceanarium zones include the Rocky Shore Wonder Place by Becky Nevin Berger, the Woven Forest Whale Sanctuary by Deb Saunders and the Open Ocean Video Sphere by Colleen Hughson.

Children will be encouraged to climb on and explore the simulated rock pools inhabited by marine life represented through sculpture, textiles, engraving and painting.

A three-metre high kelp forest will be made of woven fabric and enchanted by the sounds of whale songs and coloured lights.

Multiple video channels that use high and low tech ideas will produce an interactive video space using footage of Warrnambool’s coast.

Oceanarium can be enjoyed every day during the Fun4Kids Festival, on from June 26 until July 2.

The project has been made possible by Festivals Australia and Arts Victoria.

Visit for everything you need to know about Fun4Kids 2016.

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