Aijalon Gandionco

Fish Are Friends

Class of: 2026

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Sculpture

Faculty: Michelle Shofet

Prompt: This was one of the first assignments assigned in our Sustainable Systems class. The prompt for this project was to create a piece that narrates your "climate story" and your experience with climate change.

I wanted to raise awareness about the Red Tide, a bloom of harmful algae that occurs due to water waste and climate change. Higher temperatures and chemicals from factories causes this out-ofcontrol growth. As a fisherman’s daughter and someone who was born and raised in Florida, I have always been connected to the beach. It was a place for family gathering and bonding with my father. Unfortunately, the Red Tide took place on the shores of my home city, Jacksonville, causing massive amounts of fish beaching. Not only were ocean ecosystems damaged, but people who lived on the beach could also be affected with skin irritation. There were no more fishing on Sunday mornings, no more seafood dinners. Despite witnessing fish die frequently when my father would go out fishing, it angered me how so many fish were dying, and made me reflect on how the Red Tide could have been prevented. I decided to create this sculpture of myself as a child, hugging a Whiting fish (a common fish my father would bring home for dinner). I want to not only raise awareness about this issue but to illustrate my connection with the ocean as where I was raised and where I grew up.