Art can be a great channel to transmit environment conservation values and raise conscience about the importance of preserving the... Read More
Art can be a great channel to transmit environment conservation values and raise conscience about the importance of preserving the natural heritage.
This project is carried out over 52 fishermen boats, currently anchored in the mangrove of Manzanillo bay, in the province of Montecristi, in the Dominican Republic.
It is a landscape work that changes the appearance of the mangrove. Through the color, the boats are turned into another species in the ecosystem.
The province of Montecristi is located at the northeast of the Dominican Republic, right on the border with Haiti. It is a unique natural enclave with the largest extension wetland ecosystem in the country.
Right next to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Masacre river, at the end of the province, we find Pepillo Salcedo. It is a very small community, whose biodiversity richness makes fishing the main economy in the town.
And it is precisely there, at the border of the mangrove, the spot called Estero Balsa, in a really precarious area. That’s the small local pier, where all the old boats are anchored, waiting for the fishermen to go out and fish during the night.
It is a dreamscape, full of potential, in which administration is putting a lot of efforts for turning this place into an important bio-tourisic spot in the region.
The project has a double goal:
On one hand, to improve the really bad condition in which the boats are, through a collaborative process that involves the own fishermen.
On the other side, to create a new identity based on the awareness-raising and respect to the marine biodiversity, a very afflicted environment, and at the same time is the economic engine of the area. We focused mainly on the Parrot Fish as an iconic and fundamental element in the Caribbean ecosystem
Amongst all the creatures of the Caribbean sea, there is a species of great importance. That is the Parrotfish, or «Cotorro» (Scaridae). This amazing animal nourishes from the algae-covered coral, keeping it free of parasites.
It also excretes the mashed coral turned into the very iconic Caribbean white sand. A single parrotfish can produce up to 100 kg of sand per year.
The parrotfish is very singular. With more than 80 subspecies, they all live together at the coral reefs and can measure from 50 to 100 cm. But what makes them truly unique, is their colorful skin, with a wide range of shades, depending on the species.
Despite being a protected fish, illegal fishing is a powerful economic source for the small villages. There is right now a big concern about the decreasing number of specimens, something that arises danger for the balance of the tropical ecosystem. If these species were extinguished, the algae would increase too much on the reefs, causing the immediate death of the coral. Moreover, the white sand of the Caribbean beaches would disappear, as well as hundreds of other species.
Estero Balsa’s fishermen were the first ones in signing an agreement for regulating the parrotfish fishing.
That’s the reason because our work was inspired by the colors and shapes of the parrotfish. We intended to make that conscience visible and symbolically repopulate the Manzanillo mangrove with new parrotfishes
We had the support from different associations for this project. Most precisely both fishermen association and mothers association, that were involved during the whole process and felt the project as their own.
We began our process by sharing with them the background and objectives of the project. We also discussed the schedule and made a calling for volunteers that might be interested in painting with us. As far as fishermen are concerned, we could also create the first attempt of the census of boats to be painted. The welcoming in both meetings was extraordinary.