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Here’s cheers to the Upwelling

PORTLAND’S newest art installation might be a tribute to the Bonney Upwelling, but it’s as much about health.

The Revive the Reef exhibit was installed yesterday on the fence on Bentinck St near the Julia St intersection.

It is the work of 27 local artists of all age ranges and including students from the Portland Secondary College Re-Engagement Program.

The exhibition is the brainchild of ex-art teacher friends Robyn McDonald and Merry Abbey.

With the Upwelling Festival cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions – it would have been held tomorrow – they wanted to celebrate the event that changes the region every year. 

The exhibits show both the Upwelling and what it does – they start from bleached white and end in vibrant colours, the reflecting the improved health of the reef along the way.

There are signs at either end explaining the exhibit.

And there are no fish.

“I didn’t want the fish look, I wanted it to be about the sponges and the coral that regrow every season and that feed the krill that feed the whales,” Ms McDonald said.

It is also the latest in a series of community art installations that have aimed at helping both artists create, and the public enjoy those creations during the tough time of the coronavirus pandemic, a boost to mental health and wellbeing.

“The thing that was beautiful about this one is we haven’t had to apply for funding or anything,” Ms McDonald said.

“Everybody’s just donated (their exhibits).”

The exhibit will run until November 29.

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