Artist Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee transform Houston’s remarkable Aquarius Art Tunnel into an immersive passenger experience at one of the largest airports in Texas.
Houston-based Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee has always felt a special connection to the corridor that connects the two international terminals at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Reason? The marine conservation artist traverses it every time she boards a plane to visit her family back in Mumbai, India.
Now, just at 35 years of age, Folmsbee has made her dream of calling the same Aquarius Art Tunnel as her own as she has become the only South Asian and Indian-origin woman artist to be included in the art collection at the airport! She was selected out of 347 artists and was authorised to curate the largest art installation out of the 10 art commissions awarded by the Houston Airport System.
It took 40 long days and sleepless nights for Folmsbee and her army of professionals, to make this monumental art project happen, while the inspiration came from the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary right off our Texas coast in Galveston Bay. “The artwork at the ends of the tunnel depict the mesophotic deeper zones of the reef and move to the shallower depths in the center of the tunnel. This is scientifically accurate to the species depicted in these zones,” she explains about the installation.
“I have intricately painted the colourful complexities of these ecosystems upon the reefs and banks in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The work directly touches on the conservation understanding of ‘one ocean’, something I strongly believe in. We are all connected through water. This installation is a simple act of gratitude to the nature.”
Inspired by her deep-sea dives at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, off the Texas Coast, the title of the 240-foot-long interdisciplinary immersive installation pays homage to the constellation Aquarius, the water-bearer. The display speaks passionately about how water is ours and for all of us. Walking through it, you could experience the use of lenticulars, lighting, painting, original sound design, underwater photography, fine art mural-making techniques, custom carpeting, augmented reality, and more.
The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, protected by NOAA, is one of 15 US Marine National Marine Sanctuaries. Its reefs and banks sit relatively distant from shore near Galveston, Texas. The sanctuary is home to some of the healthiest, robust corals and deeper mesophotic habitats in the world.
The artist has even created large fine art murals throughout Houston, which can be found on Google Earth, too, and her public works also include an important commission from the Red Cross Society in Mumbai.
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