Wanted to shine a light on Olek and her most recent project Swimming with Sharks.
The following is re-posted courtesy Olek.
To me, it was the most moving experience in my life to have had the opportunity to swim next to a 35-foot long whale shark. It came to me, and for a moment, we made eye contact and to me it felt as if he was granting me permission to be there. I continued to swim alongside it, and then a second whale shark arrived, and there I swam in between two gentle giants. These mighty, tender creatures surrounded me, and I could feel all of the toxicity from my life being lifted. I knew in that moment that my life’s mission was to do everything possible to save them.
In this latest journey, I focused on making a powerful statement of my own. I knew about Jason DeCaires Taylor’s underwater sculptures, and I had been thinking about them for a couple of years. I also knew – I needed to wait for the right moment to do something with his work I dove in a few locations where the sculptures were located, in search of a piece that had no coral growth on it, and that’s when I found the piece he titled “Time Bomb.” I thought it was both surprising that there had been no coral growing on it, and that it was serendipitously the perfect sculpture to illustrate my own statement, which was essentially to reiterate Taylor’s message through my work: “The state of our oceans is a ticking time bomb and we need to act now if we wish to save our seas.”
After tireless days, of diving, crocheting underwater with natural fibers and fighting the currents to get this done-I succeeded in transforming Taylor’s “Time Bomb.”
I don’t expect everyone to be a vegetarian, but I do expect people to support a conscious way of living. For example, we can start by stopping the consumption of plastic water bottles-use a reusable water bottle; I’ve been doing it in an attempt to make a small difference. During the opening of Jeff Koons’ retrospective at the Whitney Museum, I had my water bottle on tow, and I remember going to the bar to get it refilled and surprised the bartenders. They understood and supported why I was doing it, instead of wasting yet another plastic cup.
If you eat fish, ask where the fish is coming from and how it was caught. There are many destructive fishing practices like long-lining, bottom-trawling, cyanide and dynamite fishing that take place and people remain unaware of it. Asking about the source and fishing method of your fish is a small step, but one that forces us to change the way we currently obtain our seafood. Remember, we have bigger fish to save.
Because of the nature of my work, there is often a divided reaction to it. Some people love it and understand, and others, not so much. The goal however, regardless of whether people appreciate it or not, is to ignite thought in those who with engage it. And with that, to encourage people to act on their own and make a difference toward a more sustainable future.
Thank you for your continued support!
A few more updates:
“Too Hot to Handle”, SWAB Barcelona, International Contemporary Art Fair, October 2nd-5th, 2014, performance by Olek – Thursday, October 2nd, 7-9pm At the Fira Barcelona, Italian Pavillion, curated by Ethel Seno, Artists: Victor Castillo, David LaChapelle, Manuel Ocampo, Olek.
“The Future of Fashion is Now”, Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Award, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, opening reception – October 10th, 2014.
“Greetings from New York City – Jonathan LeVine Gallery Visits Berlin”, opening reception October 25th, 2014 at Urban Nation, Berlin Artist: AJ Fossik, DALeast, Dan Witz, Faile, Jeff Soto, Kevin Cyr, Olek, Pose, Saner, Shag, Tara McPherson, Nychos.
More Olek HERE