artist statement: home

Home (Lagos, Portugal)

Marine mussels begin life as one of millions of tiny eggs released from their mother into the sea. Ideally they pass through the sperm that has been released into the water by their father and are fertilized. Then, as larval mussels, they float around in the sea for 2-6 months, maturing. The lucky ones, those that are not eaten nor swept out to sea, eventually land on a hard surface, such as an underwater rock. They attach themselves the best they can by stretching out some strong byssal threads and anchor themselves for life. They are home! Here, along with other mussels that have washed up onto these same rocks over the years, they live out their lives, feeding on plankton, doing what they can to remain safe and secure.

While researching marine mussels and working on these photographs, I kept imagining the tiny mussels floating around aimlessly in the sea, exposed to predators, their destination completely controlled by the whims of the winds and waves.

Eventually I realized where all these thoughts were leading me … to the many photographs I have seen of human refugees floating perilously on the seas in fragile boats, with their destinations determined by people and elements beyond their control.

I wonder, can the journey of the larval mussels searching for a home be thought of as a metaphor for the sea journeys attempted around the world by numerous migrants and refugees? What will be their “Home”?

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