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Paintings - Sketches

In a study into the work and drawings of oceanologists, I discovered the wonderful forms of microorganisms, the flora and fauna of the sea. Some of the forms are readily recognizable as seashells, while others look very much like modern art in its most avant-guard guise, yet only prove to be some marine-life form. The variety of imagery is endless, with a hard-to-describe magnificence such as only nature can beget. The material I compiled and processed relates exclusively to the marine world of the Mediterranean waters of Greece. I hasten to add that the oceanologists in Greece offer, in their very quiet and discreet fashion, an immeasurably important work.

The enlargement of these images triggered a series of jewellery and small objects.

The series was first presented in January 1999, at an exhibition organized by the Municipality of Aghios Dimitrios together with the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, in a group exhibition involving engraving and jewellery under the title 'Scientific Research meets Art'.


The theme of this series produced by Katerina Grolliou is 'Phytoplankton', the hidden treasures of the sea, those minute forms of life which, though invisible to the naked human eye, constitute one of the most important links in the marine food chain. All items are true, enlarged copies of plankton organisms, the flora and fauna of the sea. I believe it would be useful to become familiar with some of these terms.

Briefly, plankton comprises all those organisms which are unable to move autonomously or whose motion is overpowered by that of seawater, so that they drift in the sea.

Plankton is divided into phytoplankton and zooplankton. The former comprises all minute marine plants which are capable of photosynthesis just like land plants and thus constitute the main source of oxygen in the sea, on which the various consumers depend for their nutrition.

One of the group of consumers is zooplankton or animal-plankton. Although also very small as a rule, these organisms can run to much larger sizes such as the familiar medusa.

Zooplankton can be found at all depths down to the very bottom of the sea, whereas phytoplankton is naturally limited to depths where sunlight can penetrate.

Oceanologist, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research