Ocean Ancestors: Antarctic krill 2020 Animation: Lisa Roberts

Ocean Ancestors: Antarctic krill

I work as an artist in residence in the Faculty of Science at the University of Technology Sydney. I work with people there, and around the world, to combine our perspectives on disruptions to natural patterns of change. Together we are building an animated interactive map, to reconnect science and art with Indigenous knowledge that has for too long been missing from reports to the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC).

The biggest water project in my life is learning and animating the life cycle of the Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). And through that process of observing, reading papers, listening to people with different perspectives, I came recognise the inter-connections between flows of water and flows of knowledge.

My place is the ocean and my language is animation inspired by dance and drawing. I make animations to embody what I learn, in my quest to bring together the different ways of knowing that I grew up with, that come from Colonial and Indigenous Australian world views.

My place is the ocean - the ocean within – the ocean of the mind - imagination – and the ocean that connects all life.

The most critical issues relating to water are ocean pollution and disruption to natural flows in rivers. These issues are critical to health of environment and health of people.

Pollution and disruption to natural water flows come from deprivations of knowledge flows that run deep in people with new and ancient knowledge of relationships necessary to maintain balance between plants, animals and people.

Enduring knowledge flows through new and ancient forms of language – through the arts and scientific data.

Language reflects our place and our relationships.

The primal forms in languages of art and data reflect the natural world, and can be found in the arts of many cultures.

Learning stories of relationship are vital to sustaining life. These stories come from our waterways.

Yal yal is the Gumbaygnirr name for the three flowing lines that signify water.

In Barkindji language, water is signified by concentric circles.

When animated, the primal forms bring to life the experience of water, and so engage people in stories that come from the scientific data that underpin cultural knowledge of behaviours that are necessary to maintain natural flows, and the vital balance between plants, animals and people. "

Lisa Roberts 2021


Ocean Dance
Polar connections
Ocean Ancestors
Antarctic krill
Black man White man
Nature's brain
Art as another way of knowing
Patterns we make
East coast Tasmania and Bruny Island
Messages from Trees
Past and present life and death
Ancestral spirits
The ancestors did not disappear
Ephemeral Pedestrian
Our interrelational living system
Nature in the dark


Mind Map