Atlantic Healthy Oceans Initiative (AHOI) was created by Rebecca Brushett in 2019 to look after the health of our oceans and the coastal communities that depend on them most. AHOI is now a registered non-profit with strong connections to the seven communities located in the Gros Morne region. For the Awareness through Art – the Marine and Coastal Connections of Gros Morne project, AHOI worked with artist Kristin Roks to create a series of visual art which depicts three species of marine animals that have a connection to Gros Morne, the Humpback whale, Atlantic mackerel, and the Bonne Bay Acadian Red Fish. The images in this Protect our Future Collection were digitized into graphics by NL Canvas and screen-printed by Living Planet on eco-friendly, Canadian made apparel. Kristin Roks is originally from Ontario and moved to Western Newfoundland in 2013 to pursue a career in education. The natural beauty of Gros Morne National Park awoke her dormant creative side! She uses drawing pencils as her medium of choice and creates original artwork inspired by the nature and wildlife of the area.
This project captures the connection between the environment and the cultural and natural wonder of Gros Morne through Kristen’s beautiful work. Looking after the marine biodiversity and the traditional way of life of our coastal communities has to be done collectively. Kristen’s visual art has a special focus on still animals found throughout Gros Morne National Park and within the coastal and marine environments surrounding the region. By focusing on individual species, this project has created multiple stories that tell of our oceans and its importance to our coastal communities’ way of life. Her ability to capture the finest details enables her art to come alive, playing a key role in delivering this important message. The visual art pairs with a written script highlighting the importance of each species to Gros Morne which is featured on various pieces of Canadian-made, bamboo (plastic-free) apparel. The tags attached to the apparel tell the story of the Gros Morne region, Kristen’s inspiration for the art she’s created, and the importance of the species showcased to the traditional way of life and the health of our oceans and to local culture. Several other NL businesses collaborated to bring this project to life: J Osmond Designs, Living Planet and NL Canvas. As a result of this project, AHOI And Kristen hope to create awareness of Gros Morne as a special place. It is also hope that other artists and visitors will be inspired to come to the area and find their passion for the region whether it be through the lens of a camera, on a canvas or, through song and dance.