Gyotaku shrimp on chiri
After the collapse of the cod fishery in 1992, shrimp fishing became the industry for Newfoundland fisherpeople until this news on shrimp quotas hit this fall, affecting future harvests.
What has this got to do with art? Well, as I secured my first whole shrimp the other day for gyotaku printing, news like this impacts me and makes me wonder if I am recording what could be a slowly dying industry or slowly dying species.
So many species are becoming endangered and access more and more limited, making a living from the sea seems to be a daunting task. Except for a few weeks of the year, people here are not even allowed to catch an ocean fish for dinner.
I am allergic to shellfish, even though I've eaten it all my life. My allergies are usually restricted to eating them, but in handling them yesterday, I was getting some physical reaction to the smell and perhaps some element of them transferred to eye/mouth when I took off gloves to adjust positioning, etc. So today, I'm armed with gloves and face mask as a precaution. It may be overkill, but I remember the reaction to shellfish enough to take these precautions and shrimp, of all crustaceans, is considered the most allergenic.
I printed these shrimp on chiri paper and am still working out composition for them. My concept is a sort of acrobatic display of shrimp tumbling in varying positions down a sheet of paper. These are simple, fossil like prints with the only addition being the eye of the shrimp.