Seed Reef is an immersive, sculpted paper installation of a coral reef threatened by bleaching and pollution by artists Malcolm Zachariah and Emma Difani. Visitors can walk “underwater” through the kirigami (cut and folded paper) reef as it transitions from a colorful, vibrant section full of corals, fish, and other sea life to a barren wasteland of bleached coral skeletons. During the exhibition, visitors will be invited to restore Seed Reef, created in collaboration with the artists, whose creative partnership formed through a shared love of material, nature, and experimentation.
Visitors will be encouraged to help restore or “seed” the damaged reef by constructing their own corals and reef inhabitants to add to the installation. This process simulates actual coral restoration efforts using nursery-grown fragments. By crafting corals, visitors are helping seed the bleached region of Seed Reef, bringing it back to a healthy, thriving state and mirroring the actions we must take to understand and remedy our complex relationship with this planet and preserve its biodiversity.
In conjunction with the Seed Reef installation, Zachariah and Difani will exhibit a series of smaller and two-dimensional works, both individual and collaborative, further exploring their shared interests in botany, ecology, pattern and paper.
About the Artists
Emma Difani is a visual artist originally from Albuquerque, NM, living and working in Oklahoma City. She received a BFA with an emphasis in printmaking from the University of New Mexico. An arts educator as well as creator, Emma teaches paper and print arts at Oklahoma Contemporary, Artspace at Untitled, The Oklahoma Children’s Theater and Oklahoma City University. She is an active member of the Factory Obscura Collective, ART GRP and the Radical Intersectional Print Guild. Emma co-founded Connect:Collect, an annual international print exchange seeking to highlight and connect printmakers in Oklahoma with artists around the world. Her work uses the obsessive layering of printmaking to examine the complex relationships between the natural and constructed environments.
Malcolm Zachariah is a bridge-builder making connections between art and science. Based in his hometown of Oklahoma City, Malcolm experiments in several media including ink drawing, watercolor, ceramics, and over 25 years of kirigami (cut and folded paper) sculpture. Self-taught while studying biochemistry (BS, University of Oklahoma), Malcolm draws on motifs from the macroscopic (rainforests and coral reefs) and microscopic (cells and molecules) worlds. He has recently explored the diverse relationships among life forms, including our own species, through printed kirigami installations made in collaboration with Emma Difani. Malcolm is active in the Oklahoma arts community, in exhibitions and serving on the Art Group OKC collective’s leadership team, while also promoting diversity and inclusion in art.