Always searching for new applications for her crochet practice (see our coverage of her crocheted train and crocheted boat as well as our extensive feature in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29), Olek recently traveled to the Caribbean for an underwater installation in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
The tiny island off the coast of Cancun is home to a large population of whale sharks, the largest species of fish on the planet. To make a statement of caution about the declining global shark population, Olek chose to cover two sculptures in Isla Mujeres’ underwater musuem, Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA) with her loud, camouflage crochet. The MUSA is an underwater sculpture park created to encourage the natural growth of coral reefs and has been open to the public since 2010 (though scuba diving skills are a must to be able to go see it).
For the project, Olek used safe, biodegradable materials and colors that mimic the reds, yellows and browns of the coral reef. The artist was inspired by a quote from Jason DeCaires Taylor, the original sculptor of the pieces in the MUSA, comparing the global oceans’ health to a ticking time bomb as ecosystems decline from overfishing and pollution. She specifically chose to crochet the bomb sculptures as a symbol of solidarity and call for environmental protection.
After the underwater installation, Olek collaborated with Tre Packard of the marine life-focused non-profit Pangeaseed on a graceful photo series featuring divers donning crochet mermaid tails, camouflage bodysuits and butterfly wings stitched from delicately crocheted doilies. While few would think of crochet as anything other than terrestrial, Olek continues to think beyond its limits and surprise her viewers along the way.
Select images courtesy of Tre Packard/Pangeaseed.