Ocean in a Bottle
2018, Middle School, Art
Through this artwork, I hope to address the multiple threats the ocean is facing from us humans, such as plastic pollution (the plastic bottle) as well as global warming due to air pollution (the factories emitting smoke). Plastics pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it. Endangered wildlife like Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific loggerhead sea turtles are among nearly 300 species that eat and get caught in plastic litter. Global warming due to the release of harmful gases and pollutants also harms our marine life. Due to the rise in oceanic carbon, planktonic organisms find it hard to survive. A decrease in the base of the food chain will, once again, be destructive to the ecosystems to which they belong. With fewer of these photosynthetic organisms present at the surface of the ocean, less carbon will be converted to oxygen, thereby allowing the greenhouse gasses to go unchecked.The effects of ocean acidification can already be seen and have been happening since the start of the industrial revolution, with pH levels of the ocean dropping by 0.1 since the pre-industrial revolution times. An effect called coral bleaching can be seen on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where ocean acidification’s effects are already taking place. Coral bleaching is when unicellular organisms that help make up the coral begin to die off and leave the coral giving it a white appearance, which I depicted at the bottom of the bottle. I decided to adopt the idea of an “ocean in a bottle." Although it is usually seen as an aesthetic decoration, “ocean in a bottle” also symbolizes confinement as there is no escape except through the mouth. I want to express the ocean being a dystopian habitat for marine life due to human activity. I chose to depict dying creatures and a bleached coral reef in the bottle, to convey a stronger reason as to why we should protect the ocean. There is no escape for the wildlife from the ocean and they will all ultimately die as they flow out the bottle, the water so polluted that it is shown as tar. I also portrayed chains to show that the ocean is not free from the pollution and global warming caused by the greenhouse gases and pollutants released by the factories. I wish to promote a sense of urgency through this work and hope that this will be an eye opener. We need to act fast, before time runs out and all the water flows out.