Brief: Artists were invited to research and respond to the Tāmaki Estuary, to underscore the ecological value of this vital waterway and encourage action against its pollution.
Response: High atop Mt Wellington, Aucklanders are confronted by a well-known view—the grand, winding form of Tamaki Estuary. This body of water plays host to an unending array of life forms, many of which suffer from contamination caused by human pollution. This project seeks to change the lens through which people view their local surroundings and deepen their appreciation for the environment. Little samples from sites around the estuary were delicately scooped into vials, cut, prepared, and studied under the scanning electron microscope at Auckland University of Technology. The resulting set of micrographs seeks to reveal the unusual, diverse, and startling beauty of familiar objects. These images hint at the complexity of life on a micro-scale, but also reveal their fragility. Awe of these tiny worlds can help drive preservation.
This piece of work was selected as a finalist in the Estuary Art Awards 2017, and displayed in the Malcolm Smith Gallery at the Uxbridge Centre in Auckland.
Framed image left to right, object (magnification): Top: bird feather (x35), flax stalk (x1000), pohutukawa flower (x2200)Bottom: bivalve seashell (x600), leaf skeleton (x30), leaf blade (x300)