Student artists bring Marine Lab walls to life
The University of Guam Marine Laboratory has recently welcomed murals depicting Guam’s native marine life, painted by UOG undergraduate and graduate students.
“I love the murals that local artists have painted all over Guam,” said Laurie J. Raymundo, interim director of the Marine Lab. “I thought it was a good opportunity to highlight student talent.”
The first mural completed, designed and painted by Constance Sartor, a marine biology student studying coral genetics, and Nina Peck, an alumna of UOG’s anthropology program and now a graduate student in Micronesian studies, elicits the feeling of being immersed in a school of fish. They chose to incorporate some of Guam’s most iconic fish, such as jacks and mañahak, at the suggestion of Raymundo and other Marine Lab professors.
The mural’s design was largely influenced by its location in an outdoor breezeway. “It’s important to think of the flow of the building, lighting, foot traffic, etc.,” Peck said.
Both Sartor and Peck said one of their favorite parts of the mural is a small goldfish cracker painted in the bottom left corner. The mural was completed over the course of four afternoons and evenings.
The second mural is the work of Justin Berg, a graduate biology program student studying sedimentation effects in Fouha Bay. An over-under style painting, the mural depicts a Guam sunset above the surface, the boat on which the Marine Lab conducts research, and an ocean landscape below the surface.
Berg solicited suggestions for species inclusion from advisors, students, and boat captains.
“The most interesting part for me was the ability to encompass a wide variety of native Guam marine life into one image that accurately represented the ongoing research conducted at the UOG Marine Lab,” Berg said.
Though combating humidity while painting in the wet season, Berg takes advantage of every sunny day and hopes to complete the mural by early December.
Sartor is a self-taught artist and has been painting murals for five years. She said she hopes to blend science and art in her career, as she believes art helps a broader range of people connect with and understand the intricacies of science.
Peck’s experience as an artist has been informed by both formal studies at the University of Guam as well as learning and experimenting outside the classroom setting.
Berg has pursued expression in art throughout his studies, from fine art in painting to printmaking. Upon moving to Guam, Berg’s love of the ocean has influenced much of his art and mural work. He plans to eventually pursue a doctorate in the coral reef field.