Update: Sea Monsters has closed. SLurls have therefore been removed from this article.
Open through until the end of September 2018, is Sea Monsters by Citta Wiskee. Created on a homestead region, it forms both an art exhibition and a place to visit, and offers a unique environment for explorers.
Sitting under a stormy sky lies a series of green islands caught within a dark sea. The largest of these islands is ringed by the others, and forms the landing point. Wooded and devoid of buildings, it is home to little water drop spirits, with more scattered across several of the other islands. Tiny and white, these little spirits offer a greeting to travellers or play instruments or paddle leaf boats on a pond or simply watch / listen. But they are not the only inhabitants of this region islands; there are others around the islands and some quite literally watching over them.
Look up, and you’ll see glowing jellyfish “swimming” through the air – the clouds high above them looking so much like waves of the ocean when seen from below. Light beams seem to penetrate the clouds, eddying and swirling in circles as dust floats, plankton-like through the air, while on the horizon a constellation of pinpoint lights maps the outline of a humpback whale. But these are not what is likely to hold your attention.
Look around the sky, and you’ll find two actual humpback whales floating in the air, heads dipped towards the island as they look back at you benignly. Not far from them, circling slowly above the dark waters is a plump blue whale carrying a garden on its back. Click on it, and you can sit on a couple of poses to ride with it – or click the rope ladder hanging from the whale’s flank to ride daredevil-like.
There is no direct way between the islands other by flying, which is a little bit of a shame, but each offers something of its own little vignette to be enjoyed. On one a piano awaits a player, on another a swing seeks a rider, while on all of them more little water drop spirits can be found. One of these islands is home to a little movie theatre, showing an odd little slide-show film, cushions set before the screen for those who want to watch.
And the art? That lies underwater, and potentially easily missed for those who don’t look. Arcing around the east side of the central island is a submerged gallery displaying Citta’s art. Most of the seventeen images in the display reflect the theme of the region (or is that the theme of the region reflects their content?), with whales and other sea creates prominent within them. All are presented on mesh “paper” that appears to be flexed by the watery currents and include the play of water over their faces.
This gallery space, with a drowned woodland bordering one side, forms a garden-like space, glowing planets forming a soft carpet among which can be found ruins and places where more water drop spirits play. Overhead, beluga and humpback whales share the waters with rays and schools of small fish.
The art itself is reflective of moods or feeling – notably being on one’s own whilst wishing for something. As such, they are quite able to strum the heartstrings whilst also being beautifully framed and presented to visitors, the muted colours adding to the stories they have to tell. Again, it would be nice to have a more obvious way of moving between island and underwater gallery other than flying, but this is genuinely a very minor point.
When you have done exploring and viewing, but don’t want to leave, keep an eye out for the paper boats floating on the water. They offer places to sit and reflect for one or two people.
An atmospheric, otherworldly setting, offering opportunities for photography as well as presenting some evocative art of its own, Sea Monsters makes for an entrancing visit.
- Sea Monsters (Yankari Island, rated: Moderate)