In this project, a reflection on depletion of fish stock as a cause of economic migration, I released 372 golden seeds into the Atlantic Ocean off the West Coast of Ireland, each one symbolising 10.000 tonnes of sea life taken from the North East Atlantic in a year. Over time, the tides and currents turned them back to the sea, letting nature go back to nature.
Íobairt means “offering” or “sacrifice” in Irish. The act of “offering” recalls the old pagan ritual of sacrificing to the sea and the elements. Golden seeds, a recurring feature in several of my artworks, recall the apple in the garden of Eden but are also a symbol of rebirth.
I developed this site-specific project during my artist residency at Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry, Ireland. I had originally planned to go there to focus on working on paper. However, the place, a pre-famine village, was so immersive and so laden with its history that everything just seemed to come together.
This project thus came to be as a response to the flavour of the surroundings: the relationship between men and their environment, the consequences of ecological damages, the need for economic migration.
Data: In 2016, the 28 EU countries caught 3,725,570 tonnes live weight of fish and other organisms from the Northeast Atlantic, about 74.3% of all fish catches in the EU. Source: Eurostat.