Coral Bleaching series, 2017

Coral Bleaching series

Bleached Coral 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Drypoint, bleed print
14.8 x 19.7cm
Photos Jill Sampson

Silencing, Oceans, Silent, Silence
Etching, open bite, spit bite, aquatint, bleed print
9.7 x 14.7cm
Photos Jill Sampson

During 2017 the Great Barrier Reef experienced another major bleaching event, resulting in damage to the middle third of the reef. This followed the 2016 bleaching event that devastated substantial areas of the top third of this 2300km reef system.  Scientists have declared that the Great Barrier Reef is now ‘terminal’.

Coral Bleaching explores images of dead coral. As Tim Winton writes “A planet that can’t sustain its greatest reef will eventually become a place that won’t support human life.”  This is not a political issue, this is the beginning of the battle for our own survival.

There are many words and phrases being bandied around in the press and expressed by scientists like terminal stage, a disaster year, frequency, connectivity, closing window, in jeopardy, mass bleaching.  Yet, with each bleaching event, our Great Barrier Reef is growing  quiet. Mass coral bleaching results in the loss of biodiversity and the aquatic life that depends on it.

Our oceans are becoming silent.

I am happiest when snorkelling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef. My first visit to the reef was during my childhood and I have observed changes throughout my lifetime.  My heart is broken to know the reef is dying. It is dying ON MY WATCH.  Being born a Queenslander makes me a custodian of the Great Barrier Reef.  I take this birthright very seriously.