Art: Explorations in the Aleutian Trench
The biodiversity of the seabed fauna in the Aleutian Trench from an artist’s perspective. Image by María Fernanda Rivera (©2024 )  

AleutBio - science meets art

The image above contributes to the results of the AleutBio expedition by highlighting and visualising the biodiversity of marine organisms, thus contributing to their understanding.

As a participant in the AleutBio expedition, I discussed the OFOS videos with UNAM students, including Maria Fernanda Rivera Orozco, a student and young artist from the Faculty of Art and Design. She created the image that shows the biodiversity of hadal biota on the sea floor of the Aleutian Trench. AleutBio is linked to the UN Decade of Ocean Science and makes an extensive contribution to the Challenger 150 project. The image will be used on a postcard for the Challenger 150 project to publicise the contribution of the AleutBio expedition.

The artist

María Fernanda Rivera Orozco, born in 2001, is a Mexican visual artist graduated from the Faculty of Arts and Design of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

She has developed her work through painting, drawing, digital and analog photography; however, she is constantly learning and incorporating new disciplines that allow her to create art that responds to her interests. In her artistic practice she has worked with the portrait as a form of self-reflection and plastic exploration.

Currently, she is interested in working with topics and participating in projects of social and environmental importance within the arts. This interest has led  herto  delve into portraying marine diversity from her country and other places in the world. Her purpose is to raise awareness among people of all ages about the life within the ocean and to give visibility to scientific research that generates new knowledge, as well as to highlight the transdisciplinary work possible within this field.

 Her inspiration from AleutBio

Artistic creation can start from any source, you just have to give your sensitivity, and complete attention to your subject. That’s the idea I’ve been navigating with since I started creating work based on marine themes.

Seeing places in our world of great importance that we don’t usually perceive in our day-to-day lives is something that personally fills me with amazement. Being able to create a representation of that reality that can remain in my daily life and reach the awareness of more people, was what motivated me to make this painting. In addition, the process of making a painting requires a very careful observation and recognition of what is being captured; poetically, the artist involves part of himself in her work and vice versa. That exchange is also a very important driver in my artistic practice.

“Explorations in the Aleutian Trench” showcases numerous species that I encountered in the expedition videos. At the heart of the composition is portrayed a rattail fish, which I considered a companion throughout the recording, due to its frequent appearances and mesmerizing swimming style felt like a proud display of its habitat, captivating our attention with each graceful movement.

I believe that the arts offer a powerful means to express the wonder that we feel for this marine world, while also initiating conversation about topics that may not typically arise in our daily lives. If we allow ourselves to be amazed by the marine diversity that exists in our world and in the deep ocean, it could lead us to have a deeper awareness and responsibility towards its conservation and protection.

Dr. Elva Escobar


María Fernanda Rivera with her painting during the event Puertas Abiertas 2024 of the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, UNAM.
Front of the AleutBio Expedition postcard
Information of the AleutBio Expedition postcard