Hombre en Llamas (Man on Fire)
Man on fire depicts a lone figure standing upright and defiant. The sculpture is installed 8m deep in the clear Caribbean waters surrounding the island of Isla Mujeres at a location named Manchones.
The cement figure has 75 holes planted with live cuttings of fire coral (Millepora alcicorni ).This is a fast growing marine organism, yellow, orange and brown in colour which emits a painful stinging sensation when touched, thus reflecting its name and the title of the sculpture. It is anticipated that over time the figure will appear to be on fire underwater. The holes have been drilled on each profile of the body so that when the coral starts developing it will grow in pointed fingers resembling flames. Thus, when covered in coral and viewed from a distance there will appear the silhouette of a figure in flames. The fire coral has been sourced from fragments damaged by human activity or by tropical storms. A small proportion has also been artificially grown.
The statue, which weighs over 1 ton, is cast from a local Mexican fisherman called Joachim. The piece is intended to symbolize the current environmental situation in which we live. The man is on fire, burning but unaware of his situation, we too seem to be unaware of the impact that our actions are having on the planet on which we all live.
Our dependence on and over use of our limited natural resources, such as fossil fuels, has meant that we have been living on borrowed time. The fire is alight but we have the capabilities to control it, the current generation must rise to the challenge.
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