Low Isles Exhibition inspired by amazing coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef Australia.

The inaugural Low Isles Exhibition developed as a result of a visit to Low Isles by a group of tropical artists in December 2006. Low Isles comprises Low Island and the adjacent, mangrove covered, Woody Island, a bird sanctuary.

View of Low Isles at the approach to the lagoon - lighthouse in centre of islandLow Island at high tide from coral lagoon

Tropical North Queensland witnesses the spectacular annual event of coral spawning, usually in November but sometimes in October or December, when the ocean comes alive in an amazing display of frenzied activity. Incredibly, the eggs and sperm from the hermaphrodite coral polyps are released, in an orgy of procreation, at much the same time, at night, a few days after the full moon.

Coral spawningCoral Spawning

Bright red, pink or orange eggs pop out from the coral polyps one at a time, cluster around bundles of sperm and float to the surface of the ocean. Other marine life – fish, oysters, starfish and even phosphorescent worms - also join in this sexual frenzy, producing an exciting spectacle of movement, colour and a strange, glowing light.

Swim at night in this “soup” of creative life, trail your hand through the teeming water and set yourself “a-glow” with luminous, sparkling pin-pricks of bio-luminescence, which define your every movement.

A group of Arthouse Port Douglas artists, who were also Low Isles Preservation Society volunteers, decided to use the coral spawning as a metaphor for creation.

They spawned a few ideas of their own for their inaugural Low Isles exhibition, timed to coincide with that year’s ocean spectacle.


Low Isles lighthouse - white with red topLow Isles lighthouse
Judy Richard's ceramic, 'Whose Island Is it?Judy Richards' sculpture

The Low Isles exhibition was about various aspects of the islands – their marine, plant and bird life, their history, the vital role played by the lighthouse, as well as that of the people who care for or visit the islands. A gala cocktail party was held at the old Sugar Wharf on Friday November 23 and everyone was invited!

Cocktail party fareDelicious party food

It was hoped that the Low Isles exhibition would lead the way for future annual community celebrations of the season of plenty and re-generation, which heralds the Wet season.

The old Sugar Wharf in Port DouglasThe Sugar Wharf in Port Douglas

Because this was a great example of community groups working together for the good of the whole, it was hoped that all sections of the Douglas, Cairns and Tablelands districts communities, as well as visitors, would join in the "Arty Party" to make it a night to remember. Lighthouse paintings, sculptures of Low Isles volunteers, beautiful silk fabric and historical narratives were displayed alongside paintings of Great Barrier Reef fish and suggestions about protecting the Great Barrier Reef. Many businesses contributed to the inaugural Low Isles Exhibition so that the cost of entrance tickets could be kept low.

...POST SCRIPT ...I was pleased to report that the exhibition was a huge success, with 300 people enjoying the sunset, refreshments, the music, the full moon - and, of course, the fabulous artwork. The exhibition then toured to Cairns Regional Gallery from February 2 to March 9, 2008.

It was suggested that people kept an eye on this website, or subscribe to Perspectives, the e-newsletter, to hear more about the new event-packed week That was planned for October 2008.

Well, that went by in a flash! The enthusiasm of local artists and art groups led to the highly successful Go Troppo Arts Festival, repeated again in 2009 and 2010.

And so, from the birth of an idea, described above, a fledgling multi-arts festival has grown.

With a break for several years, because of an acute shortage of funds, Go Troppo Arts Festival, in the future, now that we have de-amalgamated from Cairns Regional Council, has the chance to be even better than previous years, given the support of our new council. Bearing in mind its 'grass-roots' origins as a community/artist driven celebration, continued support from local businesses and artists will be its driving force.

See the artists at work and some of their finished artwork.

The following businesses were much appreciated, major partners/sponsors of the event:

Sea Temple Resort, a new resort right on Four Mile Beach, generously assisted with costs of running the event, which was intended as a fund-raiser for the groups.

Port Douglas Catering:When it came to choosing a caterer, there was just no contest -we wanted the best food and presentation - so we chose the best operator!

The historic Courthouse Hotel was renovated and extended a few years ago and remains at the centre of social life in the town.

Undersea Explorer: Live on board this research vessel, which operates out of Port Douglas, enjoy fabulous adventure diving, contribute to quality marine research and learn from reef interpretative programmes.

Enterprise Charters offers exclusive private day & overnight charters to Low Isles & the Outer Great Barrier Reef, with personalised service & gourmet cuisine. It is Ecotourism Certified & proudly Australian owned.

Art Zuu is a brand new business, which will assist artists to market their work.

Log Link: Design your own gazebo to enjoy relaxing at home!

In addition, the following businesses gave freely of their in-kind support - a huge help:

Sky Safari, Reef Sprinter, Radio Port Douglas, Hibiscus Resort and Spa, The Rainforest Habitat, Art in Tropical Australia, Paddy's Bar, Coates Hire, Haba Dive, Malaita, Douglas Shire Council.

Top of Low Isles exhibition page

See the artists at work!

Low Isles Artworks

Go Troppo Arts Festival

Art in Tropical Australia home page