About 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists have travelled to a renowned marine sciences museum in Monaco for the launch of an exhibition of their work highlighting ocean protection.

The artworks, mostly giant depictions of sea creatures, have been carefully transported by ship over several weeks to reach the European principality.

The exhibition, opened to the public on Thursday, fills three floors and the rooftop of Monaco's Oceanographic Museum atop a cliff 90 metres above the sea.

Australia: Defending the Oceans was opened by Monaco's Prince Albert II and will run through to September 30 showcasing the work of artists from the Torres Strait, Queensland and Western Australia.


It's designed to highlight the urgent need to preserve Australia's coastlines, reefs and oceans from further environmental damage.

The museum, once run by French ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, specialises in exhibitions by contemporary artists on themes of protecting the oceans as promoted by its founder, Prince Albert I.

Australia's ambassador to Monaco, Stephen Brady, said in a statement it was entirely appropriate for the exhibition to be held in the museum given the indigenous Australian traditions of sustainable land and water management.

"These works are a vibrant illustration of living indigenous culture and the unique relationship Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have with the ocean environment," he said.

The artists include Ken Thaiday, Alick Tipoti and Brian Robinson and the indigenous art centres Erub Arts, Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre, and Ceduna Arts and Cultural Centre.