Coral Bleaching

Artwork simulation of Coral Bleaching by Leela Chakravarti & Edward O'Brien      

Leela Chakravarti & Edward O'Brien

Coral Bleaching

Fired stoneware clay, glaze

Dimensions variable; aprrox 10 x 600 x 250 cm


The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Rapid climate change that is warming our oceans is a major threat to our beautiful coral reefs and in recent years we have seen their decline through devastating bleaching events.

Leela Chakravarti and Edward O'Brien’s work represents the beauty and ongoing tragedy of coral on our Great Barrier Reef through installation. Hundreds of ceramic bowls covering the sand will represent individual coral polyps that make up one large coral colony. Each bowl will be glazed in the elusive copper red glaze that requires a carefully controlled kiln atmosphere. The bowls or “coral polyps” will be arranged side-by-side, nestled into the sand, in an impressive gradation of deep deepest reds through to translucency, representing the gradual bleaching of a coral colony. On closer inspection are a myriad of other colours; blues, greens and lavenders.

The calcium carbonate skeleton that makes up our coral reefs is no less crucial to the clay body and the glaze that makes up this installation. Coral Bleaching is a cry for help in a worsening climate. Any change, little or large, from moving to renewable energy to turning off a light switch. We can make a positive difference.


Edward O'Brien is an established potter and experienced teacher. He lives in a little coastal community within the Bowling Green Bay National Park, in the Townsville region.

Leela Chakravarti grew up in England and moved to Townsville to study the effects of climate change on corals. During her studies she started a weekly pottery class, taught by Edward O'Brien. After a few years she followed her passion and became a full-time potter. Both O'Brien and Chakravarti work from the North Queensland Potter's Association.

* The caliber of work presented at Strand Ephemera 2019 was at such high standard that the judges wished to name a Highly Commended, along with the major award winner.

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