About | thecoralreefproject

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Artist Statement

Tekla Zweir

Artist and creator of The Coral Reef Project

     I am fascinated by coral- almost obsessively so. Once I started exploring coral as a subject for my artwork, I wanted to learn everything about it. Beyond colors, shapes, patterns, and textures, I was also interested in species, colonies, habitats, and ecosystems. I originally envisioned a coral reef made up of individual coral sculptures in an installation to encourage audience participation.        As an artist and an educator, I am always thinking of how to engage the viewers. How will they encounter the artwork? Will it be meaningful personally, educationally, and environmentally? Art is a powerful tool for communication, education, and action- and I wanted The Coral Reef Project to convey the fragility of coral and promote environmental stewardship.

     My artistic journey began in the Florida Keys with observation and research. After creating over 50 individual sculptures of coral for the reef installation, I began to experiment with other materials, which resulted in the bleached coral plaster sculptures and the encaustic paintings with an aerial view of coral reefs. 

     The Coral Reef Project was originally shown at The Lyman Allyn Museum in 2018 and the artwork was designed specifically for the space. The Coral Reef Project was shown at The Mystic Museum of Art in 2019 with new works to add to the exhibition and a vision of showing the artwork through the lens of an aquarium. While I plan to continue exhibiting the Coral Reef Project at new venues, adding or changing the artwork based on the space and the audience, I am also interested in exploring a broader view of the ocean in a new series of paintings.