Painting and Creating Artwork that Champions life on the Great Barrier Reef in 2021

February 03, 2021 4 min read

Painting and Creating Artwork that Champions life on the Great Barrier Reef in 2021

2021 is now under way, and I’m pleased to share with you that my first artwork release will be showcasing and championing the Great Barrier Reef. Living in the Northern Beaches of Cairns, Far North Queensland, I am reminded each day just how fortunate I am to be located in the middle of two World Heritage sites. To the east is the Coral Sea, and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area; and to the west, is the tropical rainforest ecosystem of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. As I’m sure many of you will know, World Heritage Areas are nominated by their home countries for their scientific, cultural, and historical significance, and the two mentioned above have all of that and more.


Rachel Ireland Meyers, Old Sugar Wharf, Port Douglas, Palm Cove, Far North Queensland


My own life is not separate from the environment in which I live

With family and friends, I’ve visited the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel and dive, marvelling at the variety of shapes and colours of its corals and at the diversity of its fish and other marine life, which are often just as colourful as the coral. There is something both enchanting and contemplative about swimming among the corals and coming face to face with an enormous Wrasse or a giant purple clam! In fact, it’s just like magic! And, I can honestly say, it leaves a smile on my face for days afterwards. Over the past 10 years (albeit, occasionally), I have created a number of works that expressed my love of the ocean and its wildlife (especially, Green Turtles) and whenever I’m completely submerged underwater, it always fills me with a sense of meaning, clarity and purpose.

So, this year I’m excited to take the time and focus of the Great Barrier Reef to complete a more rounded body of work. And, I’m hoping to complete about 20 - 25 paintings, which will include both works on paper, and canvas. I will also include different media, and painting techniques. So, all in all, it should be very interesting. I’m certainly looking forward to the challenge, because I am fascinated by the abundance of shapes, patterns, textures, and colours of the corals and the diversity of marine species that call the *Reef* home. And, my motivation for creating these works is really my own way of highlighting the beauty and wonder of this undersea “forest.” I also hope to draw attention to many of the creatures living there, and, most importantly, to the overall importance of the Great Barrier Reef for us all.


But why care about the Great Barrier Reef?

  1. It’s the world’s largest coral reef, lying less than a mile from the shoreline and stretching over 2300 Km (1400 miles) along the coast of northern Queensland.
  2. The Great Barrier Reef contains the world’s largest collection of corals, with over 400 types of coral and over 1500 species of fish.
  3. Coral reefs are enormously important. They occupy less than 0.1% of all oceans, but provide habitat for 25% or more of all marine species of fish, molluscs, cetaceans, and, like the Great Barrier Reef, provide the habitats for endangered species like the Dugong and Large Green Turtle.
  4. While there are a number of coral reef restoration projects, with many showing great promise, these projects are relatively small in scale, and aren’t always given the attention and support they deserve.
  5. We need to prevent future damage to the Reef by changing many of our consumption patterns, learning to do more with less, particularly fossil fuel consumption, and we also need a unified approach to address the ways in which adverse human interaction with the Reef can be minimised.
  6. Despite their clear benefits to human and non-human communities, they are under serious threat from climate induced ocean warming, acidification, over use (particularly, over fishing), and land-based pollution from domestic, agricultural, and industrial (including, mining operations) runoff.
  7. In respect of the Great Barrier Reef, numerous scientific studies suggest that half of the Reef’s corals have been exposed to coral bleaching since 1975.


 Creating art with a purpose!

 I’m fortunate to know many marine biologists, research scientists and educators. Together, they have years of expertise and such an invaluable diversity of interests. And, a number also have a deep love for art, and we share a lot in common. That being said, I’m hoping my artwork might provoke change for the better and encourage you to consider what you can do to conserve and protect this majestic Australian icon.  In addition, I will be donating a percentage of the profits from the sale of originals and fine art prints to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation located here in Cairns, so they can be supported to do their stellar work.

I hope you’ll continue to follow along throughout this creative, colourful art journey and exploration into what it means to appreciate and value the Great Barrier Reef, our sea life, and perhaps even become a ‘reef loving art owner,’ during 2021. Furthermore, if you have any ideas for topics you’d like to learn more about, be sure to let me know!

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There are many ways to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef. If you are interested, just follow the links below.