Coming to the Australian Museum in September 2024

Imagining a
world beneath
the waves

Did you know Australia’s blue oceans are home to almost a quarter of the world’s sharks and rays? Some are so rarely seen that we don’t have many pictures of them (and they don’t look like what you might expect).

Over 1,500 young Australians have used the power of their imagination to create artworks to help save our threatened and endangered species.

Congratulations to the ten talented artists whose creations have been chosen to inspire some of Australia’s foremost artistic minds.

The remarkable works by the children and artists will take centre stage at an enchanting exhibition merging education, art, culture and science at the esteemed Australian Museum, situated on Gadigal land in Sydney.

From September 2024, you’ll have the chance to experience a menagerie of paintings, sculptures, installations and even jewelry which will bring our unique Australian sharks and rays to life!

Did you know Australia’s blue oceans are home to almost a quarter of the world’s sharks and rays?

Some are so rarely seen that we don’t have many pictures of them (and they don’t look like what you might expect).

We need your help to save our threatened and endangered species with the power of your imagination.

Create an artistic masterpiece and it could end up in the Australian Museum! The most imaginative pieces will become the inspiration for 10 of Australia’s famous artists to create their own artwork.

Whether it’s pencil, paint or paper mache, let’s save our sharks and rays today.

The Winners are... 

Meet our 

Sharks & Rays

Scroll through 10 uniquely Australian species, including some of the world’s most endangered. Read the descriptions below to start imagining what they look like, or print the full list here.

Maugean Skate

Australia’s living dinosaur, this ray has been around since the T-Rex was stomping around! It has a pointy nose, big wings, and tiny thorns down its spine. On the brink of extinction, it’s only found in one place on earth, Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania.

Longnose Skate

This ray might be related to Pinocchio - except the Longnose skate isn’t lying, it just has a long nose! Shaped like a sparkly diamond, it has spots all over its back. We really have to get our skates on to save these beauties of the deep.

Eastern Angelshark

An angel that’s lost its wings! In fact, this angelshark has swapped them for two dorsal fins instead. Flat and round, it has a ‘moustache’ to detect movement and is speckled with white spots to help it camouflage into the sand where it sleeps - but when it wakes up, it can be found 450m deep!

Greeneye Spurdog

It’s unlikely you will ever see this shark because it lives more than 1000m beneath the deep blue sea. It has incredible super powers - big bright green eyes to help it see in the near-pitch black depths, and an organ in its head to help it know when to ascend at night for food or descend to the deep and rest during the day.

Melbourne Skate

With a name like “Melbourne” some might think this diamond-shaped beauty looks like a trendy hipster. Well, it might not wear a beanie, but this stingray is grey like Melbourne weather. When not swimming 345m deep, they can be found in the best restaurants of the sea, munching on unsuspecting spider crabs and octopus.

Greenback Stingaree

Is it seaweed or is it a stingray? Meet the greenback stingaree, a slippery stingray the colour of greeny-brown moss. Like its cousin, the Yellowback stingaree, this ray is flat, flat, flat, with spirals around its BIG eyes. In the last 30 years, its population has fallen by 30% - imagine what could happen if you turn this ray into a masterpiece.

Yellowback Stingaree

Yellow like the sun, these stingrays are named for their glorious colour. They have been nick-named “Pancake Sharks” because they are part of the same group of animals as sharks, just flatter! Don’t be fooled though, these stingrays aren't for eating, so save the maple syrup for actual pancakes!

Whitefin Swellshark

Take a deep breath! When this swellshark feels threatened, it swallows water to make itself look bigger and harder to eat. It lays eggs called a “Mermaid’s Purse” - but it has to watch out for fishing hooks or trawler nets that could scoop it up from its home on the bottom of the sea.

Southern/Eastern Fiddler Ray

Imagine if a ray had a baby that looked like a violin! This ray is also known as the 'Banjo Ray' because it is shaped like an oval with a long tail. It has dark brown swirls across its mustard-yellow back. Hard to miss - until it buries itself in the sand to hide.

Lined Lanternshark

Hold out your hand. This tiny shark can fit inside your palm! Living 800m deep on the seafloor, this very mysterious shark has light-emitting organs so it GLOWS in the dark to light its way.


As a parent or budding artist, you might have some questions about this project. We have answered our most frequently asked questions below. Please reach out to if you have any further queries.

What materials can I use to draw my shark or ray?

We welcome the use of any materials! This could be 2D or 3D and include, but not limited to, pencils, paint, crayon, pastel, ink or collage.

If creating a 2D artwork, we recommend using A4 or A3 so it’s easy to take a photo and submit it through the portal.

Entrants can be any age up to and including 15 years. Entrants will require a parent or guardian to submit their work in the portal on their behalf.

This project focuses on some of Australia’s most endangered sharks and rays, specifically those that are found nowhere else in the world. Submissions of other species will not be accepted.

We will send an email to the artists who have been selected using the details provided in the portal.

The exhibition opens September 2024. It will be free to enter and explore.

Ten winners will have their artwork displayed in a special exhibition at the Australian Museum in Sydney where thousands of people will see it! Your artwork will inspire a piece created by one of Australia’s best known artists and both will be displayed at the exhibition. You’ll also have the opportunity to go on a special behind the scenes tour of the museum with our shark scientists and you’ll get an awesome prize pack from the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Ten runners up will also receive a prize pack.