The O Initiative, Docklands

Artist Statement

For the past 25 years, I have been working as a professional artist, exhibiting within Australia and overseas. Environmental issues, genetic discoveries and the evolving place of humanity within nature are themes addressed in my art practice.

Through an interdisciplinary approach to my practice, I have worked consistently with scientists, zoos, laboratories and museum archives worldwide, as well as conducted field research in Borneo producing art in a wide range of mediums. Over the years my work has focussed on some of the world’s environmental hotspots, including Borneo and most recently China.

The image of the ape and monkey can serve to remind us of the necessity to understand our position and place on earth in respect to preserving our natural commodities and living in a harmonious way with nature.

The thumbprint is from a Gorilla called Bokito who is very famous in Holland. I used to play with him when he was a baby and lived in the zoo keeper’s apartment above his enclosure. His mother had rejected him. I took this print when he was 6 months old.

The Installation

“By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans” – United Nations (Feb 2017)

Wonderment Walk has curated two O Initiative fountains in The District Docklands. As part of the $150 million redevelopment of the centre, The District Docklands has committed to an engagement program with local community and artists through a variety of initiatives. One of these initiatives has been to work with Wonderment Walk and the O Initiative to launch two water refilling stations in order to help reduce the 118,000 tonnes of plastic drink bottles purchased in Australia each year. The centre hopes that visitors will be encouraged to refill their own water bottles rather than purchasing one-use plastic.

“Each fountain serves as a focal point in the public spaces where it is located and can create a sense of community. From basic watering holes to opulent Renaissance city fountains, right through to modern day water coolers, water sources have always played an integral part of public meeting places, in contrast to traditional, sterile, uninviting metal drinking fountains” – Gretha Oost, Founder, The O Initiative

Our Collaborators

The O Initiative is a movement to change the way we drink water in public spaces. Our goal is to reduce the massive amount of disposable water bottles that end up in our rivers and oceans. Each O fountain is the result of a collaboration between local people and local artists. Now you can refill your bottle with fresh, filtered water from a unique work of art.

The District Docklands is the hottest new shopping and entertainment precinct in Melbourne. Drawing inspiration from Melbourne’s iconic laneways and distinctive culture, The District Docklands is well into the process of transforming into a new, distinctly Docklands precinct, intended to provide an urban oasis and vibrant new village for Melbournians on the edge of the CBD.