17:03 PM

These Beautiful Sculptures Have Something To Say About Climate Change


By Marie Jacinto

In case you haven’t walked through the Mark & Tami Mallett Grand Lobby of the College of Sciences & Technology building lately, be warned there are giant nudibranchs (sea slugs) ready to greet you. 

As Dr. Suzette Mouchaty, artist and Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences, explained during her Artist’s Talk on Saturday, Aug. 27, she created these colorful sculptures—so beautifully crafted they really do seem alive—to challenge the notion that human beings are naturally destructive, so extinction of animals, especially marine animals, is part of some natural progression. She wanted her nudibranchs to confront the viewer as if to say that reducing our carbon footprint is possible—and they do!Tami Mallett, President Loren Blanchard, Dr. Suzette Mouchaty, Mark Mallett, Dr. Akif Uzman

UHD supporters Mark and Tami Mallett, UHD President Loren J. Blanchard, and Dr. Akif Uzman, Dean of the College of Sciences & Technology, were on hand for the Artist’s Talk and reception for “Suzette Mouchaty: How to Talk to a Nudibranch (and some other things worth knowing),” on view through Sept. 1.

“Art has no utilitarian function and the reasons for making art are as varied as the artists who make it,” said Mouchaty. “In contrast, science is a quest to understand how the material world works. Art is irrational and poetic, and it broadens our perceptions; science is rational and logical, and it tests our perceptions. This space between the irrational and the rational, between art and science, is wide open for exploration, and the large-scale, charismatic artwork in this exhibition takes a tentative step in that direction. Through artwork and dialogue, I hope to inspire people to re-imagine the future as our societies grapple with the looming existential issue facing humanity today—climate change.” 

Artist Dr. Suzette Mouchaty“Suzette Mouchaty: How to Talk to a Nudibranch (and some other things worth knowing)” is funded in part by the CST and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance (HAA). Earlier this year, Mouchaty was generously awarded a $2,500 Let Creativity Happen grant from HAA. Artwork is courtesy of the artist and Anya Tish Gallery.

Mouchaty earned an MFA degree from the University School of Art in Interdisciplinary Practices and Emerging Forms and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Lund University in Sweden.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.