Visual Living

Mansi Shah
7 min readJun 25, 2020

Here is a project I took up as a student, the subject of study was oceans. The one thing that really got me excited is Corals, therefore this article is all about Reefs. During this time the signs of Climate Change resulting in an increase in the temperatures became so prominent, this project was such an eye-opener. Being a visual communicator here are some of my inspired work on reefs. It is my ongoing passion for saving our environment, hoping I can contribute my bit in this existence.


Coral reefs provide an estimated $30 billion annually in direct economic benefit to people worldwide through food, fisheries and tourism (1). They are the most diverse habitats for most marine creatures that support a wide range of organisms and various species of fish. Over the years the destruction of the reefs has increased tremendously. Causing the destruction of 10% of our reefs and 60% under threat (2). According to 2008 estimates, specialists from around the world indicated that 19% of the existing reefs have been lost, further 17% are likely to disappear over 10–20 years (3). Southeast Asia in particular, threats of human activities have destroyed 80% of the reefs (4). Only 46% of the world’s reefs could be currently regarded as in good health (5). By the 2030s, 90% of reefs are expected to be at risk due to both human activities and climate change. By 2050, all coral reefs will be in danger (7)(8). Caused due to coral mining, pollution, overfishing, diseases and digging canals are some of the threats to the coral ecosystems. According to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), more than 500 million people depend on corals for food, jobs and recreation, with an estimated economic impact of 375$ billion annually. (9). some experts predict hunger, poverty and political instability as the livelihoods of the peoples of entire countries disappear (10).

There is a lot that can be learnt from Australia’s treatment of its reefs. They can generate both tourism and economy in creating awareness about these ‘great cities’ of the ocean. In India, situated in the Bay of Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands boast of at least 500 islands featuring fringing coral reefs, The Gulf of Kutch consists of fringing reefs and is a marine national park. The Gulf of Mannar forms The Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve with 21 islands; Lakshadweep consists of 36 coral islands or atolls (11). In creating awareness of these I hope to make a real impact by tying up with groups such as The Gujarat Ecology Commission and Fishery departments and societies for the promotion of recreation and sport. I will also try and attempt to address the fishing industries of their unhealthy practices through different mediums and tones that would have an impact. In understanding conservation of coral reefs as part of a larger issue, of natural depletion due to human activities. There is a dire need for sensitivity in general for change to happen. If efforts are made in delaying this change, if no action is taken, we are facing the loss of a vast and extremely myriad ecosystem.


I hope to publically engage and inspire, through art, sensitivity and empathy towards the ocean. My role would be to highlight how the importance of coral reefs and their subsequent depletion is part of a larger issue of global warming. Since coral reefs occupy areas near ocean banks the issue of their conservation is largely unknown. Efforts made to declare areas, as marine protected is long-term viability. Protection of depleted threatened rare or endangered species and preserve habitats. Habitats are considered critical for the survival and lifecycles of species, including species that are economically important.


My work is informed by inspiration derived from structures, textures, patterns and colours of the reefs. Working with various mediums of painting, print, dying and sculpture. Through these explorations, I aim at bringing the corals to life. The outcome will consist of working with different mediums. I intend to apply my understanding of coral reefs in various ways.


  • Why are coral reefs important to humans?
  • Environmental importance vs. economic benefits of the reefs?
  • What is the biology and ecology of deep-sea corals and sponges?
  • What is the degree of impact caused by fishing and other human activities?
  • How reefs directly or indirectly affect humans?
  • Importance of reefs in the ocean?
  • How is visual communication helping the environment?
  • Can Ecotourism save coral reefs?
  • Should Ecotourism be encouraged?

Understand the biology, ecology of deep-sea corals and sponges. Understanding the extent and degree of impact caused by fishing and other human activities, through survey and with the help of various media as references. Past oceanic conditions and predict the impacts of climate change using deep-sea which helps create an impact on the audience. Using mediums of public space and places of learning, we need to tackle the issue of marine conservation at various checkpoints to amplify the urgency in trying to care for and ultimately save one-quarter of all ocean species.


As a Visual Communicator, I hope to address awareness by drawing attention to specific areas that affect the human economy and ecosystems. By addressing my awe of corals, I believe I will be able to explore and create works that will derive inspiration from their biological structures, their role in the ecosystem of oceans and the multitude of life forms that it sustains in itself. My understanding of my final form will begin my studying exploration and research by focusing on how many human activities, directly and indirectly, endanger oceanic life. Understand the extent and degree of impact on deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems caused by fishing and other human activities.


Artists and designers in drawing attention to the issue of coral conservation have done little and my role will be defined by the dire need to do so. Courtney Massin’s work as an ocean advocate and artist serves as inspiration, with her work on celebrating the diversity and wonder of coral reefs as part of her series ‘Our Changing Seas’ (12). Her work is an example of how art and design can be an extremely effective way to sensitize the public by tying up with various organizations that are engaged in efforts relating to protection and conservation. Her piece, ‘Our Changing Series I’ addresses the issue of how climate change will cause tropical sea creatures to migrate towards the poles and invade terrestrial spaces as seawater warms and sea levels rise. By trying to simply illustrate the dangers of climate change, she creates mass installations that depict marine ecosystems using fragile and brittle ceramic to mirror the message of her work, which is about creating and fostering a shared sense of fragility. I hope to draw inspiration from various characteristics of coral reefs in the implementation of my work to mimic this wondrous ecosystem that sustains our lives in ways that are not extremely obvious to us. It is my role as an artist and designer to be prescient and draw attention to issues that will affect us all as a species in the years to come and act upon my interest in marine life.




A graphic designer, and an aspiring entrepreneur, where I enjoy meeting new people, finding ways to share stories, and have an uplifting experience. During my early days as a designer, I have had a variety of projects, which I would like to share through my blog, a feminist and a lover of food. My research-driven content explores, Art, Food, Innovation, Women, Technology, and Oceans! Combined with my absolute love for travel.


The reason for me sharing this, even though it is too much to consume, the ideas you believe in does frame your thoughts and work. This would define so much of what you are passionate about. If you think there is a way you would like to collaborate on projects that include anything to do with sustainability or reefs! please do get in touch.



Mansi Shah

Indulged in design thinking for over 4 years. I wish to mark my grasp on topics covering art & Sustainibility.