Elina: You may know I’ve been working on a number of various projects about environmental issues. My “Breathe!” series is about air pollution, “Modern Gods” project was about anthropogenic disasters and I’m currently in the middle of acrylic/mixed media painting series on endangered animal species.
The canvas I finished May '19 is a painting of a coral reef. When Pantone announced Living Coral as the 2019 Colour of the Year, I thought it’s quite ironic given the dire situation of our oceans.
Initially, I wanted to paint my new canvas in muted monochrome tones of white dead corals. Soon I realized the painting looks too sombre and I decided to give it a makeover with a blast of colour. Neon yellow, iridescent blue and purple, lots of texture, and copper foil details as a finishing touch. Turned out pretty joyous, however, the water colour sparked some questions from my friends. Not blue, why? Well, because over the last 30 years, 50% of the world’s coral reefs have been lost due to various human activities.
I found out that Pantone, Adobe Stock, and non-profit TheOceanAgency came together to draw attention to this plight with GlowingGone. They have created three coral fluorescence colours. Coral fluorescence is the species’ “last line of defence” before succumbing to bleaching. The researchers found a distinct correlation between the degree of bleaching and the concentration of a coral’s fluorescent proteins – just like a Supernova, they glow brightest before they die.
Coincidentally, I used the exact colours in my coral painting. I thought a white coral would be sad, but reading what TheOceanAgency has shared, this canvas gets another layer of meaning. “The corals’ last cry for help “. Surprisingly, subconsciously I managed to paint exactly what I wanted to say - that corals need help.
Laurie Pressman, VP of the Pantone Colour Institute. “It is as if the corals are sending a colour-coded SOS that says, ‘Please look at me; I need you to notice before I slip away.’ In that sense, these incredibly vibrant colours could be considered the colours of the climate crisis.”
Art: Elina Pasok, 90x70cm, #acrylic #copperfoil