C[H]ORAL STORIES and COLLECTIVE ACTIONS
On View Through Sun., May 15, 2022
Curated by Ombretta Agró Andruff with Meaghan Kent
Participating artists: AMLgMATD, Beatriz Chachamovits, Caecilia Tripp and Kerwin Rolland, Elaine Defibaugh, Lauren Shapiro, and Morel Doucet
Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. Teeming with life, up to 25% of all ocean species depend on coral reefs for food and shelter. Often called the rainforests of the sea, coral reefs are among the most at risk from climate change and man-made pollution.
Inspired by the powerful beauty and fragility of coral reefs, eight artists will present their unique and diverse bodies of work to recognize the urgency of preservation. The artists, joining as a “chorus” of creative voices, seek to encourage awareness and action to try and preserve and sustain this very special, and very necessary ecosystem. The exhibition will be accompanied by hands-on workshops and educational programming.
The exhibition is curated by Ombretta Agró Andruff with Meaghan Kent. Italian-born and Miami-based Agró Andruff is a freelance curator and environmental activist. She has curated internationally for more than 20 years, most recently at Atchugarry Foundation in Miami. Her passion for the Florida waterways inspired ARTSail, a nomadic residency and research initiative that investigates creative climate change inquiries. Agró Andruff is on the board of IKT International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, and organized its first US-based Congress in 2019 in Miami, with a post-Congress in Havana, Cuba.
SCREENING AND PANEL DISCUSSION
About the films:
Future Pacific, 2020. The film by Shireen Rahimi is based on the exhibition by Lauren Shapiro at the Bakehouse Art Complex from November 21st, 2020 to May 30th, 2021. The project was supported by a broader outreach grant from the National Science Foundation that was awarded to marine ecologist Dr. Nyssa Silbiger for research on how human-driven stressors, including climate change, affect coastal marine ecosystems in the Pacific Ocean. Together, Shapiro and Silbiger cast silicone molds of coral specimens to recreate them as textures in an immersive installation.
Coral Restoration with Rescue a Reef, 2018. Rescue a Reef is a program at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. The film is by Waterlust, an eco-responsible company that creates apparel to be used as a science communication tool that funds research and education about environmental conservation shows how methods of coral gardening and how scientists are engaging recreational scuba divers to help restore reefs in South Florida.
The Coral Reef Habitat, 2018. The film by Odyssey Earth and supported by the Kirk Foundation explores coral reefs. The film discusses how healthy coral reefs are full of many different species of marine life. Described as the “cities of the seas,” in part because corals create stony structures that offer shelter and attachment points for things like small fish and invertebrates.
About the moderator:
Italian-born and Miami-based Ombretta Agró Andruff is a freelance curator and environmental activist. She has curated internationally for more than 20 years, most recently at Atchugarry Foundation in Miami. Her passion for the Florida waterways inspired ARTSail, a nomadic residency and research initiative that investigates creative climate change inquiries. Agró Andruff is on the board of IKT International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, and organized its first US-based Congress in 2019 in Miami, with a post-Congress in Havana, Cuba.
About the panelists:
Lauren Shapiro was born in Plantation, Florida, and lives and works in Miami. Shapiro received a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Miami (2016) and a BFA from Florida Atlantic University (2009). Her work experiments with art’s possibility to affect change and cultivate a broad awareness of our environment. Selected solo exhibitions include Future Pacific' (2021) at Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, Florida, Garden Portals (2021) at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, in Miami, Florida, and Fragile Terrains (2018), at Bianca Boekel Galeria, in São Paulo, Brazil. Selected group exhibitions include Design Miami, (2021) with Todd Merrill Studio in Miami Beach, Florida, Powder Hounds (2020) at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen, Colorado, and Projektr aum M54 (2017) in Basel, Switzerland.
Merle Liivand is a swim champion, Guinness record holder, model, aquapreneur, Swimera CEO, and avid ocean conservation activist. Originally from Tallinn, Estonia, Liivand was the Baltic States Champion in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and an Estonian National Swim Team member. In 2021, she was nominated for the 2021 World Open Water Swimming Women of the Year Award. Liivand splits her time between Estonia and Florida, where she trains and coaches the next generation of swimmers. Her nickname is the Mermaid of Miami.
Dr. Diego Lirman’s research focuses on the disturbance ecology and active restoration of coastal ecosystems including both coral reefs and seagrass ecosystems. He has been a member of the Florida Reef Restoration program since its inception in 2007 and runs coral nurseries in Miami-Dade County and Biscayne National Park. His lab has been instrumental in developing science-based restoration and monitoring practices now used widely in Florida and the Caribbean. His lab has planted countless corals onto degraded reefs in Florida and the Dominican Republic. Dr. Lirman also created the Rescue a Reef citizen science program where members of the public contribute to reef restoration by joining expeditions alongside restoration practitioners. He is the lead PI of Southeast Florida’s Coral Reef Restoration HUB program.
Patrick Rynne is the CEO of Waterlust, an organization that creates eco-responsible, sun-protective apparel used to help fund research and educate the world about environmental conservation. Rynne holds a Ph.D. in Applied Marine Physics from the University of Miami and a MS in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University. He volunteers as a subject matter expert in coastal ocean science for the City of Miami’s Climate Resilience Committee where he currently serves as the board’s Chair.
C[H]ORAL STORIES AND COLLECTIVE ACTIONS is funded in part by Funding Arts Broward (FAB!) and ARTSail. Special thanks to Jane Wesman and Donald Savelson for their support.