art for the ocean danielle folkerts diving

Gear up, jump in, and let the current sweep you gently away, as you effortlessly glide through a foreign blue landscape. Take note of each vibrant colour, florescent glow, surreal shape, methodically intricate detail, and the curious creatures you meet along the way - you are visiting a coral reef.


As an active diver and visual artist, my current ongoing series ART FOR THE OCEAN, has developed into a passion driven research project. It an artistic initiative, aiming to learn more about the critical role coral reefs play in our world, understanding the threats they face, while documenting their stages of health, devastation, and recovery, and the organizations who are the front-lines making a difference

What are corals exactly? Coral polyps are tiny, soft-bodied organisms related to sea anemones and jellyfish. As colonies grow over hundreds and thousands of years, they join with other colonies and become reefs (1.) Coral reefs cover less than one quarter of 1% of the entire marine environment, yet are home to 25% of all marine life, and form nurseries for a quarter of the ocean’s fish (2.)

With each dive, my love and concern for the ocean grows. On a recent trip, the coral damage and neglect I witnessed was significant. The reefs were bleached, the fish were scarce, and the ocean floor was covered with broken and dead corals. Bleaching is caused by heat stress associated with warming waters (3.) It is one of the most catastrophic environmental issues occurring in our lifetime, and it’s happening all across the globe. With the additional overwhelming effects of pollution, urban runoff and plastic waste, the ocean is struggling to maintain stability, resulting in an significant change in our oceans.

ART FOR THE OCEAN is a platform to create awareness and promote change and action through art. In the studio, my process is quite diligent. I use watercolours, acrylics and pastels as quick and expressive methods to document coral landscapes – both from memories, feelings, and photographs. I love corals for being so diverse and exotic, and unlike anything above the surface. I interpret my ideas through overlapping layers, lines and marks– capturing a truly abstract and surreal subject matter. Meanwhile, my unique textile installations accurately reflect the tactile and fragile nature of corals. I hand-sculpt and felt wool, and incorporate intricate weaving techniques into my work. I love to slowly build up each structure, like a growing reef, as I integrate thoughtfully collected and locally sourced, hand-dyed natural fibres and recycled materials.

The intention behind the series is to share the unique beauty of the ocean, educate communities on ocean conservation, and draw awareness to climate change and opportunities that directly support their survival. A portion of each sale goes directly to organizations supporting ocean conservation.

A portion of each sale goes directly to organizations supporting ocean conservation. To purchase any artworks please contact below. 

In the last 30 years, we've lost 50% of corals globally.

Climate change is now their greatest threat and it is estimated that only 10% can survive past 2050. Without urgent action, coral reefs face extinction. (5)

ocean conservation the travelling artisan


mission blue

Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – HOPE SPOTS. Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team implements communications campaigns that elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media and innovative tools like Google Earth.

Mission Blue also embarks on regular oceanic expeditions that shed light on these vital ecosystems and build support for their protection. Currently, the Mission Blue alliance includes more than 200 respected ocean conservation groups and like-minded organizations, from large multinational companies to individual scientific teams doing important research. Additionally, Mission Blue supports the work of conservation NGOs around the world that share the mission of building public support for ocean protection. With the concerted effort and passion of people and organizations around the world, Hope Spots can become a reality and form a global network of marine protected areas large enough to restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet. DONATE. Learn more HERE. 

50 reefs


50 reefs

A panel of the world's leading coral reef scientists have completed their research to help identify coral reefs that are likely to be the least vulnerable to climate change and that also have the greatest capacity to reseed other reefs over time. 

Knowledge gained during the 50 Reefs initiative will be used to protect coral reefs from global and local threats. The conservation team led by the Wildlife Conservation Society is undertaking an exhaustive process of evaluating new and existing reef conservation approaches, with the goal of to creating a curated list of strategies that could be used to achieve effective, long-term protection of coral reefs in the face of the inevitable impacts of climate change. HERE. 

"The good news is, some reefs are far less vulnerable to climate change than others and through science we can identify them."

— Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute


coral reef

We know that human beings are totally dependent on nature — and that by saving nature, we’re saving ourselves. To that end, CI is helping to build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet.

We do this through science, policy, and partnerships with countries, communities and companies. We employ more than 1,000 people and work with more than 2,000 partners in 30 countries. Over the years, CI has helped support 1,200 protected areas and interventions across 77 countries, safeguarding more than 601 million hectares of land, marine and coastal areas. DONATE.

The challenge

Beset by habitat destruction, overfishing and pollution, the ocean is losing the ability to provide the benefits that humans have come to rely on: food, livelihoods, climate regulation. All of this is happening in the face of a rapidly changing climate and acidification of seawater, which is reducing the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon and to regulate global temperatures and local weather patterns. This isn’t sustainable.

The vision

Conservation International envisions healthy oceans benefiting all life on Earth in perpetuity. CI is building the tools, partnerships and programs to address the pressures on the ocean — and the negative impacts on species, ecosystems and ultimately, on people’s lives. Our long-term goal is to safeguard the world’s essential ocean and coastal biodiversity and most productive ecosystems in order to maximize the long-term ecological, social and economic benefits for people and nature. Learn more HERE. 


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3.        Professor Michael Gillings, Bleached, Macquaie University