Coral Project, 2018  

Mixed media installation: variety of shells, Cuttlefish, Sea urchins, rib-bones, corks, paint, dye, strings, aluminum sheeting, wood table with driftwood collected in New Zealand, Sculpey and acrylic shelves.
Video component created by John Freeman

Artist Statement

I have created a work that refers to the deterioration of coral reefs using a large number of simulated coral specimens in various stages of decay.

I have been thinking about this project for many years. In the 1990s I visited the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, close to where I lived as a child. Eight years ago I visited the Great Barrier Reef again to observe for myself one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet and to witness for myself the damage that has occurred.

The causes of coral decline are complex but it seems clear from the reading I have done that two factors are key.

The continued increase in levels of greenhouse gasses including the atmospheric carbon dioxide that humans have generated through the use of fossil fuels has not only led to temperature rise but is also leading to an increase in the acidity of the water in the oceans of the world.

Higher ocean temperatures have contributed to the increase of coral bleaching – corals release their codependent algae losing their color as well as the source of food and energy that is the result of the algae’s presence.  Sometimes the coral can recover but in the presence of sustained raised ocean temperatures they die.

Ocean acidification is leading to the inability of the coral to deposit the calcium carbonate that makes up the underlying structure of the reef.  It has been shown recently that increased acidification of the ocean is beginning to reach the point where the actual structure of the reef is starting to dissolve.

Coastal development presents other problems and especially deforestation that allows more nutrients and sediment to run off into the ocean, damaging reefs. Over fishing is stripping the reefs of the fish that keep harmful algae growth in check and the result is the small fish are disappearing that use the reef as a nursery till they are large enough to venture into the open ocean.

In this exhibition the brightly colored simulated corals represent healthy coral and the paler versions are representations of dead and dying corals.
There are not many of the highly colored corals and this represents the highly distressed state of the world’s corals.

Lyndal Osborne, 2018

 

 Photo:Dave Brown, University of Calgary
Mutations of the Commons

 Photo:Dave Brown, University of Calgary
Detail
  

 Photo:Dave Brown, University of Calgary
Detail

 Photo:Dave Brown, University of Calgary
Detail
  

 Photo:Dave Brown, University of Calgary
Detail

 Photo:Dave Brown, University of Calgary
Coral Project-“dead sea video”
  

 Photo:Dave Brown, University of Calgary
Coral Project-“dead sea video”
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