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/ / Smalls 2023 Artist Statements

SWELL Smalls Gallery 2023 Artwork – The Symbiont

‘The Symbiont’ is a semi-transparent latex sculpture and light fixture resembling a coral polyp. The sculpture is embellished with thermochromic coloured spots resembling coral’s symbiont, zooxanthellae algae, which disappear as the sculpture is heated by the light globe. Conceptually, the sculpture refers to the phenomenon of corals expelling zooxanthellae algae when marine temperatures rise, resulting in the coral’s loss of colour and ability to photosynthesise. The sculpture aims to illuminate the crucial role symbiosis plays in maintaining coral life forms, prompting contemplation on the ways many species are interconnected.