Monday, 12 February 2007 00:00
WylandWritten by Amy Tardif
Marine life artist Wyland, who has painted 94 mammoth "Whaling Wall" murals around the world to promote ocean conservation, dedicated his final U.S. wall painting Monday in the Florida Keys.
Wyland’s newest mural is a panoramic 7,500-square-foot representation of the living coral reef that parallels the Keys. It wraps around a four-story, four-sided building in the median of the Overseas Highway.
Wyland has spent more than 20 years diving in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. He credits the Keys reef, the only contiguous coral expanse in North America, for inspiring his work.
“So I take all that inspiration that I see when I’m diving in the Florida Keys in this case. I take all that beauty and I simply paint it up on a wall for people to enjoy. This is a mural that is really the gateway to the Florida Keys”
Like Wyland's previous walls, the Key Largo mural is designed to motivate environmental awareness and stewardship, particularly in children.
Wyland, who began painting such "Whaling Walls" in 1981, plans to continue his series internationally until he has completed 100 murals. This one was his last planned for the United States.
Marine life artist Wyland dedicated his final U.S. wall painting Monday in the Florida Keys. It’s his 95th such mural.
The panoramic 7,500-square-foot representation of the living coral reef that parallels the Keys features islands, manatees, manta rays, assorted indigenous fish and bottlenose dolphins. Wyland says he means to motivate.
“Art is something that can touch people’s emotion. And you can choose not to go into a gallery or a museum but you can’t ignore a giant mural like this. It demands attention. And if people see this beauty I know they’ll want to get involved in protecting it. It’s really the first step to conservation.”
During breaks from painting this month, Wyland painted separate canvases with kids, hoping to inspire youngsters to preserve the world’s oceans.
He intends to paint his last huge artwork, more than two miles long, in Beijing, with the help of children from around the world, prior to the 2008 summer Olympics.