【亞太博物館連線專欄】海之鬼網:澳洲托雷斯海峽群島人的海洋禮讚

AU KAREM IRA LAMAR LU / GHOST NETS OF THE OCEAN: TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS’ ODE TO THE SEA

海之鬼網:澳洲托雷斯海峽群島人的海洋禮讚
AU KAREM IRA LAMAR LU / GHOST NETS OF THE OCEAN: TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS’ ODE TO THE SEA

 

作者:林彩鳳博士(新加坡亞洲文明博物館「海之鬼網特展」策展人)
攝影:除非指示,全圖片來源屬麗奈特‧格里菲斯(Lynnette Griffiths)與埃拉博藝術中心

本文標題「海之鬼網」(Au Karem ira Lamar Lu / Ghost Nets of the Ocean)為澳洲最偏遠的原住民族群——托雷斯海峽(Torres Strait)上的埃拉博島(Erub,又名達恩利島Darnley Island)居民與兩位非原住民,協力創作的藝術作品。托雷斯海峽位於澳洲北方的約克角半島與巴布亞紐幾內亞之間。在當地兩百多個島嶼裡,逾二十二個島嶼住著托雷斯海峽群島人,他們是澳洲兩大原住民族群的其中一支。對島上居民來說,魚類、海龜等海洋生物是主要的食物來源,亦為重要的象徵性符號。藝術家受到海洋與當地原住民的生活故事所啟發,將回收的「鬼網」,那些被拋棄在海中、對海洋生物具有威脅性的漁網,轉化為紀念海島、珊瑚礁與海洋的心靈震撼之作。

關鍵字:當代藝術、原住民藝術、鬼網、托雷斯海峽、澳洲

The Torres Strait lies between the north of Australia’s Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. At least twenty-two of some 200 islands here are inhabited by Torres Strait Islanders, one of two distinct Indigenous groups of Australia. This article Au Karem ira Lamar Lu / Ghost Nets of the Ocean, introduces the art of one of the most remote communities in Australia, living on Erub (also called Darnley Island), and two of their non-Indigenous collaborators. Fish, turtles, and other marine creatures are key symbols and vital food sources for the islanders. Inspired by the ocean and stories of indigenous life in the region, the artists have recycled “ghost nets”, destructive, abandoned fishing nets, turning them into powerful works of art that celebrate island, reef, and ocean.

Keywords: contemporary art, indigenous art, ghost nets, Torres Strait, Australia

以海為家的托雷斯海峽群島人

比起澳洲本島原住民(Aboriginal Australians)的藝術創作,托雷斯海峽群島的藝術品無論外觀或風格皆有著明顯的不同。經過數千年不間斷的傳承,托雷斯海峽群島人對於海洋建立了深切的理解,並出現所謂的海洋鹹水文化(maritime saltwater culture),島上居民被譽為「地球上最以海洋為依歸,亦最依賴海洋生活的原住民族群之一」。1因此,魚類、海龜與各種海洋生物,毫不意外地成為托雷斯海峽群島人重要的象徵性符號、主要食物來源與圖騰生物。在這些美妙生物的啟發下,Au Karem ira Lamar Lu / Ghost Nets of the Ocean—意指「海之鬼網」的創作隨之而生,歡慶著島嶼、珊瑚礁與海洋。這些驚人的雕塑品乃是透過廢棄漁網、繩索與塑料回收物等海中廢棄物所製成,靈感均來自海洋本身,以及人類與海洋的關係。創作的藝術家無論是否為原住民,皆來自托雷斯海峽上的埃拉博島。埃拉博島是海峽中二十二個有人居住的島嶼之一,也住著澳洲最偏遠的其中一支原住民族群。這些藝術品一方面希望能喚醒人們對於海洋汙染、資源回收,以及海洋生態保育的重視,一方面也讓人們看見澳洲原住民歷久不衰的文化遺產,以及各種當代的呈現方式。海洋生物不僅訴說著故事,提供著意義,也帶領著我們探索異境。

身懷巨大力量的鯊魚向你游來

鯊魚在海洋民族的文化與精神生活中有著舉足輕重的地位。鯊魚既是造物者、祖先、圖騰,也是象徵著律法與秩序的巨大力量,其生命循環反映著四季、地景,以及海洋國度。在珊瑚礁高度大幅下降的埃拉博島西北方,時常可見到大型雙髻鯊(hammerhead shark)自深海游至淺海獵食魟魚(stingrays);而在托雷斯海峽群島東方,雙髻鯊乃是數個部落的圖騰,舞者亦會將其編入傳統舞蹈之中,帶著象徵鯊魚的面具或頭飾,並模仿其動作。本次展出的作品「伊拉瓦巴步」(Irawapaup)是透過海洋殘礫搭配鋼製框架製作而成,技法上結合了傳統的編織技術以及特有的雕塑技巧,用於呈現壯觀的雙髻鯊(圖1)。

圖1 吉米‧泰鰘(Jimmy K. Thaiday)與羅倫佐‧凱契爾(Lorenzo Ketchell)兩位藝術家手中抬著雙髻鯊雕塑「伊拉瓦巴步」(Irawapaup, 2017)
一起享受豐盛的沙丁魚大餐

每年特定時分,通常是十二月左右,規模龐大的沙丁魚群會游至托雷斯海峽東部群島。島民將這些沙丁魚群命名為「吐鯱」(tup),時不時可以看到鯊魚穿梭於魚群之間享用美味大餐,有些時候各種大型珍鰺魚(trevally)亦會現身,痛快地大塊朵頤一番。捕撈沙丁魚有多種方式,可以用魚叉獵魚,或是用手拋網捕魚,島民亦會用以竹條製成,名為「斡爾」(weres)的大型漏斗狀籃子撈魚。2麗奈特‧格里菲斯(Lynnette Griffiths)的作品「吐鯱—沙丁魚」(TupSardines)與其他埃拉博島上原住民藝術家的「斡爾」(Weres)交錯欣賞,觀者彷彿也進入了某個稍縱即逝的精彩片刻(圖2)。

圖2 「斡爾」(Weres, 2014)與「吐鯱—沙丁魚」(Tup—Sardines, 2016)
(圖片來源:Ken Chong攝影)
生生不息的海龜滋養人們的身心靈

海龜對於埃拉博島居民來說亦有著重要的意義。海龜既是部落圖騰,也是傳統上聚餐或慶典時的食物來源。在埃拉博島北端,有一處名為埃瑪爾(Emarr)的珊瑚礁,乃是眾所周知的海龜捕獵場,馬里恩‧葛莫斯(Marion Gaemers)採用編織技術將海中廢棄物製作成大片珊瑚礁,為此處的珊瑚礁提供了親近的特寫(圖3)。出於對大海的尊敬,島民會留心不要取用超過自己所需的量,以確保日後的世世代代仍能保有海洋資源。在本次特展中,「埃瑪爾托托(埃瑪爾海龜)」(Emarr Totol)是最讓人印象深刻的作品之一。一如雙髻鯊「伊拉瓦巴步」,海龜「埃瑪爾托托」是以海洋殘礫搭配鋼製框架製成,先將部分的繩索與漁網拆解開來,組成色彩繽紛的繩線區塊,再運用一種近似於針氈的手法,小心翼翼地縫在一起,構成身體的軀幹與血肉。外殼部分則結合纏繞與編織的技法製成(圖4-5)。在藝術家的巧手之下,海洋垃圾奇蹟似地幻化成為埃瑪爾珊瑚礁周圍,那美麗又崇高的海龜(圖6)。

圖3 馬里恩‧葛莫斯(Marion Gaemers)製作的珊瑚礁
(圖片來源:Ken Chong攝影)
圖4 藝術家努力做出能夠反映海龜外殼的正確顏色
圖5 工作室內製作埃瑪爾海龜
圖6 「埃瑪爾托托」(Emarr Totol, 2017)
(圖片來源:Ken Chong攝影)
海洋子民與大海之間的緊密連結

在一定程度上,展場配置與動線也反映了海洋國度裡,生態系及多種海生動物之間的關係。在創作這些雕塑的同時,藝術家不分原住民與否,皆致力於延續與凝聚島民的文化力量。藉由理解與詮釋這些海洋生物的象徵性語彙和來龍去脈,本次所展出的這些繽紛畫面不僅呈現出藝術家本身的才華,也包含了島民對於大海、環境與人的知識。對於新加坡這個海港城市來說,島民與大海之間的連結是個無比親切的主題。藉由這些令人驚豔的雕塑品,藝術除了能夠映照著吾人所處的世界,也拉近了人與人之間的距離。

「海之鬼網」一景
(圖片來源:Ken Chong攝影)

 

注釋:
  1. 托雷斯海峽群島人乃是傑出的海洋專家,據聞能夠辨別並使用超過450種海洋生物。(資料來源:R. E.約翰尼斯與J. W.麥法連,《托雷斯海峽群島的傳統漁業》,澳洲聯邦科學與工業研究組織漁業部荷伯特分支,1991)
  2. 「斡爾」(weres)是一種用於捕撈往同一方向游動的沙丁魚所使用的漁具,通常由竹條以及港麻或藤蔓所製成的繩索組合而成。

 


AU KAREM IRA LAMAR LU / GHOST NETS OF THE OCEAN:

TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS’ ODE TO THE SEA

Author:Lim Chye Hong, PhD (Curator for Au Karem ira Lamar Lu, Asian Civilisations Museum)
Image credits:All photographs are by Lynnette Griffiths and Erub Arts unless specified otherwise.

 

The art of the Torres Strait Islands is visibly different and stylistically distinct from that of Aboriginal Australians on the mainland. Torres Strait Islanders have a maritime saltwater culture. They are very much influenced by their intimate knowledge of the sea, accumulated over thousands of years. Islanders are said to be “one of the most marine-oriented and sea-life dependent indigenous societies on the planet.”1 Thus, it is not surprising that fish, turtles, and other marine creatures are key symbols, vital food sources, and totemic animals for Torres Strait Islanders. Inspired by these fantastic creatures, Au Karem ira Lamar Lu, or literally Ghost Nets of the Ocean, is a celebration of island, reef, and ocean. Made from ocean debris, including abandoned fishing nets, rope, and recycled plastics, these magnificent sculptures created by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from Erub, one of twenty-two inhabited islands in the Torres Strait and home to one of the most remote communities in Australia, retains an underlying unity of inspiration—the sea and the peoples’ relationships with it. While the installation strives to generate awareness of ocean pollution, recycling, and conservation of the marine environment, it also offers a glimpse of Indigenous Australians’ enduring cultural heritage and a manifestation of its myriad contemporary expressions. Marine creatures tell stories, frame meanings, and take us to other places.Sharks are an important part of cultural and spiritual life for saltwater people. They are creator beings, ancestors, and totems, as well as a mighty power that represents law and order. Their life cycles reflect the seasons, the landscape, and sea country. Large hammerhead sharks are often seen off the north-western side of Erub where the reef drops off quite sharply. They swim up from the deep water into shallow water to feed on stingrays. In the eastern Torres Strait Islands, the hammerhead shark is a totem for a number of tribes, and it has also been portrayed in traditional dance whereby the dancers wearing either facemasks or headdresses representing the shark mimic its movement. Made from marine debris and supported by steel frames, using a combination of traditional weaving techniques together with selected methods of sculpture, Irawapaup brings to life the majestic hammerhead.

Jimmy K. Thaiday and Lorenzo Ketchell carrying the hammerhead shark sculpture, Irwapaup, 2017

During certain times of the year, usually around December, great shoals of sardines come round the eastern islands of the Torres Strait. The Islanders call these sardines tup. Often sharks may be seen darting here and there through the shoal, making a meal. At times, a variety of large trevally cuts through them, creating a feeding frenzy. There are various ways of catching the sardines—spearing, using a throw net, or scooping them up in big funnel-shaped baskets made of split bamboo, called weres.2 Juxtaposing Lynnette Griffiths’ Tup–Sardines with the Weres by collective Indigenous artists from Erub offers a glimpse of a moment in time.

View of the Weres (2014) and Tup–Sardines (2016). Photography by Ken Chong

Turtles also hold special significance for the people of Erub. It is both a tribal totem and a traditional source of food for feasting and celebrations. Near the northern end of Erub is a reef called Emarr. Marion Gaemers’ coral panels, fashioned from marine debris using a combination of weaving techniques, afford an intimate close-up of such reefs. Interestingly, Emarr is also a well-known turtle hunting ground. Islanders are mindful of taking only what they need. Part of the respect rendered to the sea is about making sure that marine stocks are available for feature generations. Emarr Totol is one of the most impressive works for the installation. Like the Irawapaup, it is made from marine debris and supported by a steel frame. Bits of net and rope were unknotted and undone beforehand to form multi-coloured clusters of fibre which were then meticulously sewn together using a technique reminiscent of felting to make up the flesh and core of the body. For the shell, a combination of coiling and weaving techniques were employed. Through the hands of the artists, marine debris was magically transformed into the splendid and dignified Emarr turtle.

Marion Gaemers’ corals (detail). Photography by Ken Chong
Artists working on achieving the correct colour mix for the turtle shell
Working on the Emarr turtle in the studio

View of the Emarr Totol [turtle] (2017). Photography by Ken Chong
The schematic layout of the exhibition mirrors, to a certain extent, the ecology and the relationship of various marine creatures in the sea country. In constructing these sculptures, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists are contributing to the ongoing cohesiveness and strength of Islander culture. Understood and interpreted through the symbolic language and context of marine creatures, these colourful images reveal not only the artistic talents but also the Islanders’ knowledge about the sea, environment, and the people. The Islanders’ connection to the sea, a theme dear to a port city like Singapore, and its expression, vis-à-vis these magnificent sculptures, also speak of the power of art to express sensitivity to the world in which we live, and its ability to bring people together.

View of Au Karem ira Lamar Lu. Photography by Ken Chong

 

Annotations:
  1. Torres Strait Islanders are marine specialists par excel They are said to know of and use more than 450 species of marine animals. R. E. Johannes and J. W. MacFarlane, Traditional Fishing in the Torres Strait Islands (Hobart: CSIRO Division of Fisheries, 1991).
  2. Weres is a traditional fishing tool used to scoop schooling sardines. It is generally made from slatted bamboo and assembled with rope made from beach hibiscus and vine.
References:

Asian Civilisations Museum, http://acm.org.sg/exhibitions/ghost-nets-of-the-ocean

Erub Arts-Darnley Island, https://www.facebook.com/Erub-Arts-Darnley-Island-404714109587933/

Erub Arts & Tropic Productions (5 June, 2017). Au Karem ira Lamar Lu / Ghost Nets of the Ocean 【YouTube】https://youtu.be/H2eAhMU5ei4

 

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