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ZetaTalk: Coral Obelisk
Note: written on Nov 15, 1995

Many artisans choose their material more for its uniqueness than suitability, the better to gain notoriety. Wrapping an island in colorful plastic or floating colorful balloons is more a media event than art, but if done by one who professes to be an artist, qualifies, it seems. An artisan who fears being overlooked might choose his medium more for its likelihood of attracting attention than any other reason.

Thus it was with a poor immigrant who had more talent than money, being without sponsors in a new land, and in fact being without funds to even buy materials. He turned to what nature provided, in more than one way, as his choice of living coral was both inexpensive, being free, and quite unique. Being at home in the water, this artisan used various techniques to shape the coral, which grows slowly and is alive only on the outer surface. In most cases transplanting was done, skillfully cutting and fitting the pieces which were never removed from the sea water the living coral need in order to live. Scars heal over time, giving the appearance of natural coral growing in these unusual shapes. Where this work of art gained the artisan notoriety, and was certainly an outlet for his talent, it scarcely made him rich. Just as his medium was free to him, likewise viewing his work was free, a legacy left to startle the uninformed swimmer who happened upon them.

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