Twelve years ago self-proclaimed “artivist” Mavis Muller organized her first human mosaic art project, “ShapingFuture,” at Bishop’s Beach. Held Sept. 26 on International Climate Change Action Day, Muller arranged people in the shape of a salmon.
Over the years, Muller has organized other aerial art and human mosaic projects around the state and in the Lower 48. Many of them have been at Salmonfest, the annual music and environmental action festival held in Ninilchik. With that “not an option,” as Muller said of why it won’t be at Salmonfest 2021, this year’s aerial art circles back to where it began. Starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, at Bishop’s Beach, Muller will arrange people and fabric into a salmon design and then photograph it from above. It will be the finale of a nine-year tradition of aerial art she did at Salmonfest.
“The first one, and now the final one, both happening at Bishop’s Beach, feels like book ends holding a good story about creative humans who care,” she said in a press release.
In light of the surge in COVID-19 cases, Muller said people will be spread out. People will not lie down shoulder to shoulder as in previous aerial art projects.
“It’s still on our minds to stay safe out there,” she said. “We can take protective precautions with masks and by spreading out over the lawn.”
This year’s theme will be the same as the chant Muller led when organizing previoius aerial art projects: “Team work makes the dream work.”
“We’re stronger when we collaborate, and also looking ahead into the future as we stay diligent to create a healthy future,” Muller said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
The design will feature a silhouette of a salmon swimming in the middle, with streamers going out where people are standing — or sitting, Muller said. She invited people to plan their Sunday beach walk around the aerial art event. Making a special appearance will be Queen Marine, a Chinese-style dragon costume and her rhythm entourage. People are invited to bring drums. At the Bishop’s Beach pavilion will be displayed photograph prints of previous human mosaics.
Those images have included a large heart with streamers symbolizing salmon streams spreading out to human bodies and another of a salmon image circled by people. The original salmon used bodies to outline the salmon itself. The mosaics havea common theme and message: honoring salmon and the cultures who cherish them and protesting projects like the Pebble Mine that threaten salmon.
The organizer of the Burning Basket project held in the fall (except in 2020) at Mariner Park, Muller said, “I see these images as illustration to a powerful story, like a mythological tale, where hundreds of people use their bodies like a petition.”
“We will now wrap it up and tie a ribbon on it, but the story will continue to educate and inspire,” she added in her press release.