I had been working on the 3rd series of what I was to call “Sea Creatures”, exploring ideas of hybridity, colonization and adaptation. These ideas were inspired by the coral reefs of southern Florida and Mexico.
I was fascinated by the idea of a living organism hosting many other life forms and so creating a unique environment for even more life forms to flourish. Learning that the coral reefs produce 2/3 of the world’s oxygen supply and knowing that human interventions in the natural environment are destroying and threatening this crucial life form, I felt small and helpless faced with the scale of the problem. I wanted to create work that communicated some of what I found so compelling.
I repeatedly returned to visualizations of the coral reefs and ocean floor as I worked, imagining the life and death struggles of species, the complexity of their relationships and the vibrant colours of the reefs darkening and dying…
One day, during these visualizations, I imagined my awareness sinking into the sand beneath the waves where all was quiet, suspended in a gentle current. With my inner eye, I saw a dim and scattered light from the surface far above, breaking the gloom in random places, and I rested there, drifting, not thinking.
After a while, feeling very peaceful, I noticed the sand beneath me begin to stir in little vortexes of current. One patch seemed particularly active, and as I looked closer a spiral of sand suddenly shot upward and opened out as a glowing light bloomed from its center. Bits of shells and oceanic debris were being sucked into the center aggregating into a mass that rose up and took on the shape of a tiny goddess! Small, defiant and threatening! The light became too intense to look at and it’s message clear.
This realm was under her protection and small as she was, I knew her power could be lethal.
I blinked and found myself in the mundane world once again. I went back to work, contemplating the power of belief in sustaining a magical realm.