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Whale Tales is the art trail to tell the story of a healthy ocean. As Livia Esterhazy, CEO of WWF-NZ mentioned, ”If our whale populations are healthy and thriving, it is a sign our ocean is also healthy and thriving. Whales have been singing their own stories for generations and now is our opportunity to amplify their voices.”

Caption: The Whale Tale at PAOLA KING-BORRERO’s artist-run space, Studio 14, before the painting begins

We are delighted to be a sponsor of Whale Tales 2022 . The Whale Tail we are supporting is one called ‘Dreambreathe’, by local artist Paola King-Borrero. We talked to her to find out more about the idea behind how her concept design evolved from two questions:

“Do whales sleep?”

“How do whales breathe while sleeping?”

What makes you want to participate in Whale Tales 2022?

I am excited to be involved with Whale Tales 2022 as it is an important opportunity to collaborate with WWF-New Zealand and other sponsors in helping with marine conservation in the Hauraki Gulf.

What is the idea behind Dreambreathe?

Whales are mammals and must breathe oxygen. Unlike humans, whales are conscious breathers, meaning they must keep part of their brain awake or they will drown. Some whales adapt the way they sleep by having one hemisphere of their brain asleep at a time. The residual half of its brain along with the opposite eye remains alert. The awake half reminds the whale to breathe when it reaches the surface. If half the whales’ brain is awake, and the other asleep, does the asleep side dream? Upon surfacing for a breath, what would the surface of the earth look like to them in this state? How would the land, cities and the night sky look in a ‘half-dream state’? These ideas forged the beginnings of my design for Dreambreathe.

Caption: Paola King-Borrero’s vision of her finished Whale Tale, Dreambreathe

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your previous experience with whales and/or sustainability?

I grew up on the North Shore of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. A lot of my childhood was without a television, so I spent countless hours after school and on weekends on the Hauraki Gulf. After residing abroad for many years, I am grateful to be living next to the waters of Aotearoa New Zealand again. I have never seen a whale in the wild, but hope this becomes a reality for me one day.

As an artist, I have always looked to my surroundings for materials. I utilize found objects from nature and upcycle objects from many different sources. My art practice comprises of installation and site specific, sculpture, painting, and collage to name a few.

What is your understanding of sustainability?

I believe that the word ‘sustainability’ should be a cautious one, as it means to sustain a state indefinitely. The state we are in at the moment is not one we should be trying to maintain. To avoid further depletion of our natural resources humans must finally learn how to co-exist and to maintain balance with our incredible eco-system.

How would you like to see NZ’s manufacturing industry work towards sustainability?

One example should be that industries be required to have experts identify and resolve the threats that they present to our eco-systems. I believe we hold the answers through creativity to find solutions to ensure there is a future for all living things.

It is an honour to be a part of the sponsors for this Trails of Art with WWF. For NanoLayr, sustainability is a constant work in progress. Our range of technology platforms using advanced functional textiles, benefit and improve lives of others and we are on a journey to ensure our entire business is conducted in a way that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.

As a part of this journey to 2022’s Trail of Art, Whale Tale edition. NanoLayr will be sharing some on going insights with the minds behind this project and how these incredible ideas are doing goods to the nation.

Keep an eye out and follow #WhaleTale2022 and @nanolayr for more info.