To mark the International Year of the Reef, the ceramic coral installation will be launched at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali (October 2018). The ceramic coral installation is a beautiful, innovative and engaging exhibit designed to educate the public about the value of coral reef ecosystems, and their role in sustaining people’s livelihoods. In this way it will benefit the local community, school children, youth and tourists – they will be able to learn, reflect and act on the new knowledge they have gained to protect the oceans, which in turn may improve not only their own but others lives as well.
The ceramic coral installation itself is hand-sculpted and designed by US-based ceramic artist and ocean advocate Courtney Mattison. It is made up of six coral swirls and one bullseye, representing the six countries of the Coral Triangle (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste) as the epicentre of the world’s marine biodiversity. It also showcases the beauty of life under the ocean’s surface. As a community-based art exhibit it will serve as a tool to increase public awareness about the beauty and diversity of our reefs and the marine creatures living in it. It will also highlight the fragility of coral reefs – and why we need to act now to protect and manage these.
“Corals dance across the wall, emanating from a central bullseye of dense, colorful branches. Swirling into six interconnected spirals, corals, sponges and anemones are elevated from the reef into a constellation of life and motion. Yet across the top of each swirl, the presence of white corals suggests a more ominous trend. Coral reefs are swept up in a current of change as sea temperatures rise from global warming. Corals around the globe are succumbing to stress and bleaching, losing the colorful algae inside their tissues that help keep them alive. Corals can recover from bleaching and regain their vibrancy, but only if stressful temperatures subside quickly enough. It also shows the threats of climate change and human-caused activities,” said Courtney Mattison.
The sculpture measures 18.6 x 2.4 meters and is made of 3,000 ceramic coral pieces, which were hand-sculpted by Ms. Mattisson and local Indonesian artists Ricko Gabriel, Alfie Rahdindi, Sasanti Puri Ardini, Agung Ivan B. and more than 250 volunteers and members of the Bali art community. It is unique in the way it has forged a collaboration between a non-government organisation, Coral Triangle Center, the government training center Balai Teknologi Industri Kreatif Keramik, and the private sector, Jenggala Keramik as well as a large number of community members all enthusiastic to spread the message of ocean conservation through art and science.
The ceramic coral installation will be a permanent exhibit at CTC’s Center for Marine Conservation in Sanur, Bali. The CTC Center is a unique facility, providing a space for school children, youth groups, families, tourists and entrepreneurs to learn about and be inspired to protect our oceans. The ceramic coral installation will be used as an education tool, for a coral ecology learning module that will be developed in order to engage local teachers and coastal schools in marine education.