Jan 7, 2020

Last month, we featured paper cut artist Shaphir Aleph Lizarondo who held an exhibit that featured “intricate paper cuts depicting local and international endangered species to shed light on each creature’s intricate beauty— alongside its anticipated extinction.”
[READ: This artist from Baguio uses paper art to make a stand about climate change]

Recently, artists from the Papercutters Guild of the Philippines came together to create a mega papercut installation, a 9 ft x 36 ft piece depicting “corals and marine life” endemic to the Tubbataha Reefs. The largest papercut piece in the country according to Mansy Abesamis, the project was made in collaboration with Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park to raise awareness on the current state of the reefs.

“In all, some 600 species of fish and 360 coral species—about half of all known species—call Tubbataha home. The park’s islets also host the last seabird rookery in the Philippines, providing refuge to 100 species of birds,” National Graphic reported in 2017. Even then, the coral reefs have faced numerous threats: illegal fishing, the “grounding of a US naval ship, which damaged more than 21,000 square feet of coral,” and coral bleaching. UNESCO also reported that year, in the middle of the worst global bleaching event ever recorded, that coral reefs all over the world may disappear by the end of the century if current carbon emissions don’t dramatically decrease.

The piece was created in 3,556 hours and shown in a one-day exhibit at Finale Art File, before it was completely torn apart by the artists. A viral video by the Tubbataha Reefs Facebook page explains that this “dramatizes the fragility of one of the biggest marine ecosystems in the world.”

Aya Seraspi, one of the artists who took part in the project, says, “This may be a very heartbreaking way of sending a message to everyone. But we all know that proper care and protection of our environment is badly needed. This is not just about Tubbataha Reef but of all our natural resources.”

Other artists who collaborated on the piece are Lizarondo, Abesamis, Seraspi, and Joshua Canlas.


Header photo from Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and World Heritage Site

Get more stories like this by subscribing to our weekly newsletter here.

Read more:

The Nolisoli gift guide for artists and creatives

LOOK: Storybook teaches children how plastic endangers marine creatures

We’re about to lose Nemo and it’s all because of climate change

TAGS: nolisoli.ph papercut Papercutters Guild of the Philippines Shaphir Aleph Lizarondo Tubbataha Reef