This mural in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, calls attention to the harms of unsustainable and polluting industrial fishing practices on marine ecosystems.
The unsettling, wrinkly hand and human-faced fish make for a jarring first impression that will captivate students.
The spiky black sea urchins showcase the ecosystem disruptions occurring due to the pollution from fish farming and unsustainable fishing practices.
Cá means "fish" in Vietnamese.
Students might benefit from researching the imbalance that fish farms have created in the marine ecosystem, causing many sea urchins to grow on the coral reefs.
For more information, watch this video (7 minutes, 28 seconds) about the creation of this mural.
This could be a hook for biology students to research more about the coral reefs in Vietnam and the impacts of overfishing and fish farms on marine ecosystems.
In art class, students can analyze this mural using some of the following questions:
Why did the artists choose to give a human face to the fish?
Are the sea urchins properly scaled? Why or why not? What impression does that give to the viewer?
Does the swimming pool next to the mural change how one perceives this mural?
The resource highlights the negative impact of overfishing and using unsustainable techniques for fish farming. This has caused a devastating effect on the ecosystem. However, the artwork can help stimulate farmers to adopt more eco-friendly methods for fish farming. This is recommended for teaching.
Visual and Performing Arts
Visual Arts: Standard C1 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
D.C1.6-8acc.a Explain how the method of display, the location, and the experience of an artwork influence how it is perceived and valued.
D.C1.9-12prof.b Analyze how experiencing visual imagery affects the viewer’s understanding of the world.
D.C1.9-12acc.b Evaluate the effectiveness of an image to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors of various audiences.
Visual Arts: Standard C2 - Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
D.C2.5 Interpret art by referring to contextual information and analyzing subject matter, characteristics of form, and use of media.