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!
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.”
“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.
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 more than 15,000 students, boasts more than 64,000 alumni, and offers 46 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences & Technology. For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution, and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.