On the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland Australia lies the aboriginal community of the Thaayorre people, called Pormpuraaw. As they are close to the beach, but are also surrounded by rivers, which flood for 4-5 months out of the year, leaving no road access and deeming them an island.
The Thaayorre people have a very strong culture, some individuals speaking up to four or more various indigenous languages, and every member is fluent in the people's histories and "totems". Obviously a large part of their culture are their native art forms including murals, weaving, and wood carving. A unique practice however are their specialty sculptures that are made out of "ghost nets".
These nets wash up on their shores from ships tossing them into the ocean. The ghost nets kill fish and other marine life around the island, affecting food sources and other resources. Regardless, the people of Pormpuraaw have taken this pollution and created something beautiful out of the material. The sculptures are representations of their native fish, birds, tortoises, and other marine life that inhabit their community.
Recycling at its finest, the Thaayorre people have found their inspiration and medium as one in the same. The Urban Paradise Art Gallery in Surfer's Paradise is exhibiting these masterful works this month, celebrating their aboriginal heritage and outstanding craftsmanship.