Coral through the eyes of an artist

The ‘How Blue is Your Ocean’ exhibition launched yesterday at Male’s National Centre for Arts, featuring a selection of works by Indian artist and environmentalist Bipasha Sen Gupta.

Gupta’s works depict an array of hazy underwater scenes with embossed corals spreading across the canvas like capillaries.

“I’ve seen a lot of coral as a Maldivian. But this is the first time I’ve seen it through the eyes of an artist,” said Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam, opening the exhibition.

“As you stare at the paintings a while you grow to understand the deep message of how important coral is to an island nation like the Maldives. Islands are sustained by the reef, islands are protected by the reef, and the sand and building blocks come from the reef,” he said.

“The sea water is rising at 2mm per year, reefs grow at 7-12mm per year, and it’s important that reefs kept up with rising seas. However rising surface temperatures and increasingly acidic water is slowing the growth of the reefs, and many in the Maldives are slow to recover from the effects of bleaching.”

Gupta spent a year working on 29 paintings of coral after being inspired during a visit to the Maldives in 2005 – after she learned how to snorkel and explore “the rainforest underwater.”

“God does not exist in the empty temples we build – the mosques, churches and synagogues – but in the small miracles of life,” she said.

The event was organised in collaboration with the National Centre for the Arts, the Indian High Commission and the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) in celebration of World Environment Day.

The exhibition is opened to public from 10.00am to 4:00pm and from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.