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Family-friendly art class focus on SA cuttlefish gathering


Giant Australian Cuttlefish have returned in massive numbers for their annual aggregation in the cold waters near Whyalla, and this year there is a new way to mark the occasion without getting wet.

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Sydney artist, diver and conservation advocate, Sue Liu, will host a drawing class on dry land during this year’s Cuttlefest, the Whyalla celebration of the world’s largest gathering of cuttlefish.

Currently in the state’s Eyre Peninsula for a short time as a volunteer with Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries, Liu will be diving, studying and filming the species in the Stony Point area and bringing what she has found to an art class in the Whyalla Public Library on Thursday 29 June.

Photo: supplied

Liu’s workshop allows participants to get up close with the marine animal through her images and videos while learning observational illustration techniques.

“Because animals are innocent creatures, they are in their own environment, doing their own thing, and quite often they are at risk from human beings and our behaviours,” she said.

“Marine animals, in particular, are not seen as much especially in real life, as animals on land, because you actually have to get into that environment.

“I’m trying to be that link between people who don’t have the opportunity or don’t think about them just because you don’t come across them every day.”

South Australia’s Giant Australian Cuttlefish breeding ground wins National Heritage Listing. Photo: Maeve Plouffe

She said she shares her photos of the animals she encounters on her socials but had the idea to expand this with a workshop on how to freehand draw animals as they are seen in nature.

“Now I can take that a step further by translating what I see and experience as a diver, into communicating and sharing this with others in a different way, through my art,” she said.

“I bring people underwater with me through my stories and imagery, and I teach people who want to draw.

“I’m trying to open art up to people, and teach them that it’s about observing, seeing things with different eyes and working out your way of expressing and communicating something you find fascinating.”

Photo: supplied

This is the first time Liu has had the chance to swim with the Giant Cuttlefish.

“I have not yet experienced cuttlefish in the volume and the activity of the aggregation in Whyalla, it’s quite special,” she said.

Liu said her class is all about having a go, trying something different by putting pen to paper.

“I’m teaching something that is very unique, something that is able to engage children and adults together,” she said.

“I hope my class gives people a deeper understanding about the nature of these beings that they probably would have never even thought about, and at the end of the day, they go and say oh I really like that animal.

Tickets to the Whyalla Public Library workshop are available between 30 June and 6 July  and start at $39.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story. Copied to Clipboard

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