Local Artist Donates Artwork to Commemorate Centennial

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City of Miami Beach, 1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139, www.miamibeachfl.gov

March 19, 2015


Tel: 305.673.7575, E-mail: nrodriguez@miamibeachfl.gov


Miami Beach, FL: In honor of Miami Beach’s centennial anniversary, FIU College of Architecture + The Arts artist-in-residence Xavier Cortada will unveil a 5’ x 3’ digital painting of his art piece, “Just below the surface: 1915 (The Founding of Miami Beach),” archival ink on aluminum at City Hall, fourth floor on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Cortada was inspired by a 1915 microscopic diatom — a single-celled organism that lived in the water and harnessed the power of the sun to convert CO2 into oxygen —that  FIU scientist Evelyn Gaiser was studying in her lab to help address sea level rise. Cortada’s artwork captures these diatom images of glass-encased algae that lived in Biscayne Bay 100 years ago.

In the art, there is a large diatom just below the surface. It is wrapped in red, almost resembling a hemoglobin molecule that transports oxygen to blood cells. The diatom and the whole web of life it supports above and below the waterline is our lifeline. Above the horizon, images of the diatom are arranged into a circle to symbolize the Miami Beach sun rising above the water and shinning its light on the city. Through time, season after season (represented by the sun divided in four parts), the city grows, new life. The sun is also layered over a historic city map.

“The environment is what gives life to the city,” said Cortada. “It is what we need to protect the most in its next 100 years.”