To talk about the preservation of mangroves, we could have painted, drawn, sculpted, taken pictures or we could have just written a story. In the end, well, we did all of those things at the same time!
Our @mangrove.girl project starts with ‘The Woman from the Mangrove,’ a piece of art from Géraldine Chansard, a sculpture created from a mangrove ecosystem and influenced by the story of a true environmental activist. This creation finally inspired me to write a tale that turned into pictures and then a short movie ‘The Girl who fell in love with the Mangrove.’
I wanted the tale to be a poetic adventure which transcribes what emerges from this sculpture: the fight of a woman who wanted to preserve the ecosystem of the mangroves. But the story remains pure fiction.
The birth of an iconic guardian
Géraldine Chansard is a visual artist who lived and worked in Ras Al Khaïmah, United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 8 years. She contacted me to highlight ‘The Woman from the Mangrove’ sculpture for display during UNESCO’s International Mangrove Day. She wanted to try to do this through a video because her sculpture was too fragile to move for the event. This led her to think about other means of communication to show her artwork. Her initial request was to create a simple contemplative video, presenting her sculpture in all its forms.
I asked Géraldine how she discovered the mangroves for the first time. She explained to me how meeting an environmental activist had inspired her to reconnect with this ecosystem in her daily life. Then one day she came across a small plant of mangroves resembling a woman dressed in a wedding dress, like a ‘woman married to nature.’
I finally realized that she tells all this adventure like a story for children, like a ‘tale.’ I suggested that I rewrite her whole story in a fictitious way, in order to challenge the viewer through a plot.
A tale to be seen
10 minutes is the time it takes to tell you this story through a video. This is done through a series of fictitious reconstructions of scenes from the written tale. A series of real textured and digitally redrawn shots.
I decided to highlight the human being and their close connection to the environment that surrounds them while adding my magical vision of mangroves and my personal artistic touch.
Géraldine Chansard having herself been inspired by the mixtures of textures and materials, made it obvious to me to mix various video visual techniques such as photography, animated painting, and motion design parallax effects (different elements moving at different speeds, creating a 3D depth effect).
Step by step shooting
We had only two weeks in Umm Al Quwain (UAE) to film all the sequences, but even in this limited time, we took only four days to find our three main characters! Supported by the Department of Tourism and Archaeology of UAE, all the silhouettes of the short film are locals who felt involved and inspired by this project. We are extremely grateful for the help of these people who allowed us to gather all the elements necessary for the smooth running of the main shooting in only one week!
Protection goals and socio-ecological motivations
We want to make the full project travel all around the world, by showing the film and by finding a definitive place of exhibition for the emblematic piece of art that inspired the story.
We want to create this kind of story so we can tell our young generations, in order to educate them very early to be kind to the nature that surrounds them. And to fight for the preservation of these ecosystems that help our beautiful planet Earth.
Obviously, we want to contribute to an awareness of the role of this ecosystem and the risks associated with their disappearance. But we also want to show the world that the UAE is represented by typical natural areas like Umm Al Quwain mangroves in order to generate eco-tourism, instead of materialistic tourism. And this artistic project also responds indirectly to the sustainable development objectives defined by UNESCO.
To watch a teaser of the film click here.
From September 2023 to December 2023, we are organizing an exhibition in the media library of our native region, in Beauce, in France, which will present all our ventures, with the sculpture as well as the film.
The film is also selected for the RAK Fine Art Festival 2023, in the Film category, which will take place from February to March 2023
We hope to announce many more new show dates in the meantime. To stay connected and share our story, you can follow us @mangrove.girl on Instagram!