Sea Lungs (2014 – present)

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As someone who has grown up in the island environment, particularly Grenada, it is apparent how crucial our connection to the sea is. Whether the sea is feeding us or attracting visitors, we are in constant dialogue with and our health and well-being is in constant relation to the sea. The Sea Fans (Gorgonians) I use in my work are soft coral-like organisms that grow from the reef. When they die, they detach and wash up on the beach. I use them in my work because of the visual reference they make to a human cardio-vascular system. In a real sense, the washing up of these ‘organs’ represents not only the dying of the Caribbean reefs but also a reminder that our own life-force can be found in the sea.

All of the materials used in this installation were sourced locally in Grenada. It is important to me to use materials that anyone could use in the local setting and not distance myself through my medium. The substrate is nylon that is used in sail making; sailing being a vital element to the local economy. The sea fans were found on local beaches and the spray paint was bought locally. The light used in the installation is to create the effect of the sea fans as an ‘organ’ while also emulating the effect of diffused light in water.

The process I use for creating the pieces is similar to techniques used by street artists. I had taken photos of someone who modeled for me, then reduced the photos to stencil templates. I cut two layers of stencils for each piece and then applied spray paint onto the stencils through a sea fan, giving the textured appearance. I hung the installation in a way of mimicking the feeling of swimming around a reef. The pieces can be viewed from every angle and even walked through. The stretcher frame without nylon and the remnants of a sea fan refers to the death of the reefs and the gazes of the various faces react to it. The intent is to anthropomorphize the reefs’ reaction to its own demise.


Back Beach from Asher Mains on Vimeo.

NOW Grenada article about the Grenada Arts Council Contemporary Exhibit:



Sea Lungs in Rio de Janeiro (Sep 2015)

Following the monumental stride made by Grenada’s first appearance at the Biennale di Venezia, artists Susan Mains and son Asher Mains have been chosen for the Trio Bienal, an international art exhibit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beginning on September 5th and continuing until November 26th, 2015, this exhibition will display an international array of three dimensional art. Joining these artists from Grenada will be Giuseppe Linardi who was an Italian guest artist in the Grenada National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

The Trio Bienal is an international exhibition of contemporary art around the three-dimensional in his classic scope – sculpture, installations and objects – as well as in all its expanded fields – painting, photography, drawing, video and others medias as three-dimensional research, and will occupy several museums and cultural institutions in Rio de Janeiro. The overarching theme of the Bienal is “Who Said Tomorrow Doesn’t Exist?” and is curated by Marcus de Lontra Costa.

Asher Mains will be shown in the Instituto Europa do Design under the theme of “Reverberations – Crossed Borders of Three Dimensionality”. The work being exhibited was seen in the Grenada Contemporary Exhibit put on by the Grenada Arts Council in September of 2014.

It is an installation of images sprayed onto sail cloth with silhouettes of sea fans representing the life of the figures as well as our relation to the sea. The piece is called "Sea Lungs" and reflects a personal glimpse from the reefs' perspective contemplating their own demise.

The multi-media/mixed media work of Susan Mains is rooted in her own personal experience, as well as in a deep commitment to the physical environment of Grenada. The video projected onto a bed-like platform shows a tropical flower impressed on the back of a female form. A strong heliconia, its rigid forms becomes a scaffold for the healing of a spine. Suddenly an x-ray with titanium screws appears in an actual spine, the metaphor exposing itself. The bed is made up of crocus bags, those used in the agricultural sector to transport cocoa and nutmeg. Spices, grown in Grenada, also surround the image.

The installation begs the question, "what if". What if these natural forms could replace the surgical knife to heal a broken spine? What if human cells could be taught to imitate the stem cell differentiation demonstrated in the helconia flower. What if tomorrow could be better by honouring what is already in our hands.

Susan’s work will be shown under the theme of “Utopia – Preterites of Contemporarity” and will share exhibition space with well-known artists such as Los Carpentiros, and Vik Muniz.

This exhibition opportunity was made possible by the executive director of the TRIO Bienal, Alexandre Murucci who visited the Grenada National Pavilion in Venice before submitting the work to his own curatorial committee. This on going exposure for Grenada’s art is a reflection of the efforts made by Grenada, its artists and sponsors in representing Grenada on the international art scene. The transformative and economic power of art is only now beginning to show its power in Grenada.

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Review of Susan and Asher Mains’ work here:


Sea Lungs in Basel, Switzerland (June 2016)


Sea Lungs in Medellin, Colombia (September 2016)

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