Being an artist includes research, implementation, evaluation, repeat, repeat, and repeat. Far from glamorous, it’s work that can be irritating and invigorating. A long workday can result in no physical or tangible result. The “product” is information, direction, and advocacy. This is how art is born.
With numerous exhibitions in China last year, I spent many hours on an airplane traversing over the Pacific Ocean. Sleep eludes leaving ample time for investigation. Traveling from one world to another, started to wonder about the health of the vast waters beneath me. From the Hawai’i Pacific University Oceanic Institute: “The oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water.”
Since most humans spend life on land, the wellbeing of oceans becomes an afterthought. Perhaps it’s the old proverb of “out of sight, out of mind” that dominates sentiment. However, climate change and pollution are leaving lasting impacts on the environment.
United States Environmental Protection Agency: “As greenhouse gases trap more energy from the sun, the oceans are absorbing more heat, resulting in an increase in sea surface temperatures and rising sea level. Changes in ocean temperatures and currents brought about by climate change will lead to alterations in climate patterns around the world.”
XL Catlin Seaview Survey reports that the largest global coral bleaching event ever recorded in history is occurring right now due to global climate change.
According to the National Ocean Service, changing ocean temperatures, pollution, sunlight overexposure, and extreme low tides cause coral bleaching. Algae are a coral’s main food source and stressed environments cause its release turning the tissues to turn white. Inspired by the global bleaching epidemic, white-formed plastic has been repurposed into a pattern mimicking the ecosystem. Plastic pollution continues to be a key-contributing factor to the decline of coral reefs.
Perhaps in the future, humanity will be celebrating an ocean and eco-system rebounding and reclaiming a healthy environment. That would truly be an inspiration. Until then, I will continue awareness through art.