To-Scale Great Barrier Reef model stuns in new panorama exhibit
By: Ashley Gustafson
With its prestigious rank as one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World”, the Great Barrier Reef is not only an entity of vast beauty and admiration but, also preserves an aura of mystery and allure to its natural composition. The Great Barrier Reef is a popular destination on any given person’s “top ten places to visit” and even a common bullet on the ever trending “bucket list”. Being among the crowd of people longing to set my eyes on the wonder and maybe even dip my toes in its waters, I was very curious when I learned a to-scale panorama exhibit had been created.
That’s right, I said to-scale! At the Asisi Panometer in Leipzig (Central Germany), Artist Yadegar Asisi has created a new massive, to-scale exhibit of the world’s largest coral reef system. Instead of traveling to Australia, coral enthusiasts, hobbyists, and the general public alike can gaze at the enormous model without having to get wet. The jaw-dropping panorama is set and printed completely in cloth and features a 1:1 scale ratio to the real-life Great Barrier Reef. This incredible feat is not the first of the Artist. Asisi has also created other wondrous panoramas including replicas of the Berlin Wall, Mount Everest, and Rome in 312 A.D.
The exhibit itself recreates only a portion of the 2,900 individual reefs that make up the massive Great Barrier Reef but the exhibit gives a great measure of insight to the mind-blowing size of the actual reef. Visitors of the model are able to actually climb up to a platform within the exhibit. This allows them to immerse themselves in thousands of replica coral and marine life. As the exhibit’s website states, “Only the panorama makes possible a true perception of the diversity of corals, turtles, starfish, aquatic plants, and marine mammals living on the Great Barrier Reef.” If a trip to Germany is in your plans within the next year, make sure to drop in and check out this spectacular exhibit which will be open to visitors from now only until September 18, 2016.
Recreating a Natural Wonder of the World
Out of all the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is in trouble. Coral reefs in general are in a state of great decline and are at serious risk of disappearing from the world’s oceans forever. While coral reefs are stunning and it would be horrible to lose some the of the world’s most stupendous natural beauty forever, it is also important to remember that they are home to thousands of organisms from plants to fish to reptiles to mammals. As the “Rainforests of the Sea” they are a biodiversity hot spot that could lead to tragic loss of wild life if destroyed. Not only would we lose coral and the plants and animals that depend on coral directly, but we could see a trickle-down effect on all the animals involved in the food web and greater yet ocean ecosystem surrounding coral reef systems.
One of the things I love most about this new exhibit (besides its sheer, untapped beauty) is its potential to connect people to coral reefs. Coral reef decline is no secret to anyone who has been paying attention to the news and global warning movements. Terms like coral bleaching and coral decline can be hard to grasp for the general public that may not know a whole bunch about the ocean. It is sometimes difficult for people to care about something they can’t see or something that is not right in front of them. This exhibit is so wonderful to me because I see its potential as a conversation tool. By allowing people to catch an up-close glimpse of the beauty of coral reefs they may not otherwise be able to see, they can connect in a new and hopefully positive way. Exhibits like this new, to-scale panorama of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef inspire me to make a change to better preserve the real thing and I can only hope that it does the same for the other visitors that are lucky enough to gaze into this amazing feat of art and composition.