Activism,  art,  Asher Jay,  Empire State Building,  Fischer Stevens,  modern art,  Ric O Barry,  The Cove

The Cove turns the Empire State Red

The Empire State is a truly magnificent and unique canvas, one that utilizes light and color to convey a narrative. The tradition of illuminating this Art Deco edifice has been an integral part of New York’s skyline since 1964. The building has changed floodlight hues to hallmark holidays, mourn the passing of esteemed personalities, salute home teams, and celebrate or observe other noteworthy occasions, people and events, today this revered Big Apple marker cast a red spotlight on a truly poignant and pertinent film, The Cove. The Cove, a 2009 Academy Award winning documentary directed by Louie Psihoyos features the concentrated efforts of Ric O’Barry to save dolphins from captivity and culling. Whilst this movie strongly addresses the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji Japan, it does so against the backdrop of a large range of interconnected environmental concerns; from policy change, quotas and scientifically stipulated moratoriums, to ecological crises that have not been inflation adjusted, capitalistic myopia, and the upright ape ability to serve as a catalyst for biodiversity loss. Many have elected against viewing this movie on account of disturbing graphic content but this is a PG13 picture that does not intend to entertain but educate its viewers. Contrary to popular preconceived notions, Louie Psihoyos masterfully employs a restrained and eloquent visual vocabulary to unravel the truth about the cove and portray more than meets the eye. Having personally viewed it, I can say this with utmost confidence, it is absolutely crucial that everyone watches this movie, for as Sylvia Earle often states, “You can’t care if you don’t know, you might not care even if you do know, but you can’t care if you don’t know.”

The Empire State lighting ceremony for The Cove happened thanks to Leilana Munter’s initiative, an environmental enthusiast who took it upon herself to visit Taiji on three discrete accounts in an effort to contribute and raise awareness for the unnecessary and cruel culling of dolphins there. The ceremony took place today, Dec 9th 2011 at 10:00 a.m., in the presence of Ric O Barry, Leilana Munter, John Leguizamo, Louie Psihoyos and Fischer Stevens.

I had the incredible privilege of meeting Ric O’Barry in person last evening for dinner, a long time personal hero of mine whose unfettered commitment to cetaceans large and small has time and again inspired me to take responsibility for the ecological realities of our time. He is living proof that an individual can make a difference, that a single voice can cultivate a global shift in consciousness.

Note to readers: You need not be in Taiji to lend a voice today. Log on to to know more and to take action now!

Last but not least, Dan Nelson, a dear friend of Louie Psihoyos, has just launched Cove Wines LLC, to support OPS (Ocean Preservation Society) and the organization’s relentless campaign to scupper and stop the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji Japan. Do have a look at the official website, and this holiday season toast loved ones with a truly full bodied Sonoma harvest.
I had the immense honor of receiving one of three Zinfandel bottles east of the Mississippi with signatures from Louie Psihoyos, Ric O Barry and Dan Nelson last evening! To me the bottle is now the holy grail of the environmental movement, I am never uncorking it!

Upon seeing the above artwork I had created to shed light on Sea World and other spectacle oriented aquariums and marine parks, Ric O Barry asked me for a high five as he uttered the single most validating compliment I have ever received, “I thought I was the only one who got it, but you do too!” To hear a person I respect so enormously acknowledge me thus nearly placed me in a coma last evening, but it also strengthened my resolve to comment, conserve and contribute.

All original artworks by Asher Jay.
All photographs shot by Asher Jay.

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