GEMS V at Arts Benicia Nov/Dec '22
90% of Coral reefs, our ocean's Gardens, are in trouble due to global warming, unsustainable fishing, pollution and habitat destruction.
- The hand carved belly of the teapot represents brain coral (Diploria strigoga) and of course acidic, hot water! Coral’s white skeleton is revealed as it dies— “coral bleaching”.
- The spout portrays our endangered California Hydrocoral
- The handle is a fictitious coral.
The Cups — some of the animals dependent on coral reefs:
- The seahorse cup represents our very own Pacific seahorse, Hippocampus ingen. Populations have dropped 50-90% in past 15 years. It is also Vulnerable due to destruction of habitat, aquariums,
- The Banggai Cardinalfish (commonly known as angelfish) is endangered because of its popularity as a pet in home aquariums.
- Sea Stars (Pisaster ochraceus) on our west coast from Alaska to Mexico were dying in massive numbers from wasting syndrome in 2014 when I made this piece. The disease is still present, but Sea Star numbers have increased some.
- Some good news: The fish cup, with the fan shaped tail, represents the Goby fish. When coral is stressed by overgrowth of algae or seaweed, it emits a chemical that the Goby fish is attracted to — it will come chew away the invading algae & seaweed!
- And of course, homosapiens (people). Tea anyone? Drink for change!
Year 2020! Our native flora and fauna: Yellow-legged frog, Fiddleneck, Mariposa Lily, coral and butterfly are All half white and fading, indicating threat of extinction. Note I have taken liberty with the butterfly’s spots…BLM. COVID + $sign against THE mask. And as a sort of voodoo wish— Donald Trump’s orange hair is smoldering off to one side. So, that worked in 2020!! Hee, hee.
I see everything in this Folktale as one and the same interconnected and complex problem. Mainly, a world economic system governed— not by the needs of all living things— but by a lack of true democracy, in a capitalist system legally requiring continuous extraction and expansion for greatest profit no matter the cost. Which means waste, designed obsolescence, more corporate profits, wars, more buying, more waste. And IF it continues, it means more hunger, homelessness, slave labor and a degraded uninhabitable environment.
We are living-searching-grieving on the edge. The Edge Effect in nature is about the boundaries between two habitats and how they affect biodiversity. Corporate powers have created unjust, unnatural boundaries between societies and nature. This is an improvised mash-up of my subconscious floating on edge.