Elsa Salonen

For the Queen of the Southern Seas

powdered corals, corals, glass, sea water
2018, various dimensions

The symmetric pattern of the installation For the Queen of the Southern Seas (An Offering to Nourish Her Charming Blush) was created with powdered corals. Some of the pieces of dead corals used for the installation were found drifted on the beaches of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. According to Javanese and Sundanese myths - originating from prehistoric animistic beliefs - the local sea is the kingdom of Nyai Roro Kidul, the Queen of the Southern Seas. The deity is traditionally celebrated with offerings, for both as an act of propitiation and worship; to incur divine favour and avoid divine retribution.

Global warming and the rising sea water temperatures are killing the vital algae living inside coral tissues. This leads entire coral reefs to starvation, turning them deadly white in a process called coral bleaching. 

Thematic consultancy / coral bleaching: Helmut Schuhmacher, emeritus professor of aquatic ecology, Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Thematic consultancy / Indonesian mythology: Patrick Vanhoebrouck, anthropologist, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and the artist's Javanese friends: e.g. Arif Abdurachman and Bawep Kapalatama
Exhibition views: Fata Morgana, Berlin, 2018 / Photographers: Jere Salonen and Elena Panouli