Though not an artist himself, fisherman Paolo Fanciulli knew he needed to get creative to protect both marine life and his livelihood.
Fanciulli is a veteran defender of the Mediterranean Sea, and practitioner of sustainable fishing. He has worked with the Italian government and nongovernmental organizations over the past twenty years to fight against deep sea trawling, especially around his home in Tuscany. His latest strategy took an artistic approach, with 100 blocks of marble carved by Italian and international artists.
Since 2015, the marble statues, from the same quarry that Michelangelo sourced marble for his sculptures, have been dropped to the sea floor. There they stand, ready to tear apart any deep sea net that attempts to take more than its fair share of fish. At present, 60 blocks remain, ready to be carved by the best sculptors around the world.
This project is the ideal example of social practice. While some artists struggle to attach meaningful action to their work beyond raising awareness for an issue, these sculptures physically disrupt the source of harm. Algae and time may obscure the statues’ details, but they stay vigilant in their mission.
How else can we incorporate man-made art in the defense of the natural world?
Photo by Andy Corbley