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The Lungs of the Ocean

Seagrass photography by Rachel Brooks Art

'The Lungs of the Ocean' is an artivism piece with rewilding at its heart. This piece was commissioned by Oystercroft, a local business on the Isle of Lismore. The art work highlights the importance of native oysters for the seabed and marine ecosystem. In the UK our native oyster populations have depleted by over 95%, and recovery is unlikely without human intervention. (1)

Oystercroft started the 'What the Shell' project where they will be donating 10% of the proceeds from their merchandise to purchasing native oysters to place in local sea beds, helping to restore native oyster populations. 

Oysters are ecosystem engineers, which means they provide vital building blocks to allow other wildlife to thrive. The brief for this piece was that it was to reflect this important role by representing the oysters as lungs, with them being a life line to other native species. Working as a snorkel guide locally I was really excited to be able to work on this concept incorporating local wildlife. 

It was important to the client that the artwork reflected our local marine environment, so this piece was carefully researched from my own observations in the field whilst snorkelling Scotland's coast lines. 

The Lungs of the Ocean - Artivism work by Rachel Brooks Art
Here is the finished piece, showing life flourishing around the native oysters. The original art work is hand drawn in pigment ink on A4 cold pressed water colour paper, and is available to purchase - enquire here for more information. Can you spot all the hidden critters? 
The Lungs of the Ocean  © Rachel Brooks, 2021
(1) Statistic from the Zoological Society of London, read more about he plight of native oysters and projects working to protect them here