We are inextricable from the sea. In an island environment, not only does it sustain us economically but also physiologically. This close relation is at the heart of “Sea Lungs”; imagining that the sea fans that wash up on the beach and resemble our own cardiovascular and pulmonary systems are in fact our own. A reminder that our own life force can be found in the sea.
In an environment where art materials are less accessible, I focused on using materials that could be found locally. The sea fans are an organism of the reef that wash up on the beach when they die and detach from the reef. The material that makes up the pieces are sail cloth, typically used for the spinnaker, referencing our vital sailing community in the work. I use local faces and bodies in the work, again – contextualizing the materiality and visual references in our very specific place.
Ultimately the work references an issue that exists globally but particularly in the Caribbean, our reefs are dying at a staggering rate. The Caribbean is home to nearly 10% of the world’s reefs yet some estimates report that 80% of the reefs have died in the last few decades. This work is about establishing our relationship with the sea and reefs as vital and then anthropomorphizing the reef responding to its own demise. Without necessarily focusing on cause or solutions, “Sea Lungs” is taking a moment to empathize not only with the reef but our societies as we recognize this reality. “Sea Lungs” is an immersive installation allowing the viewer to walk in and amongst the anthropomorphized reef and to perhaps bridge the process of grief and empathy as we are not separate from the fate of our reefs.