Cubicle on Bognor beach turned into dazzling seaside mural

An unused white unit near the foreshore office has been converted into a dazzling mural this week.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 11:06 am

A white cubicle on Bognor Regis beach has been converted into a seaside mural with an important message about protecting our oceans.

Spearheading the project is local artist Sarah Gillings who hopes its stunning depiction of a long-nosed seahorse sends a powerful message about the value of our oceans.

“I was inspired by the documentary Seaspiracy, which is all about trawlers and overfishing. What these people do is they get these huge nets and drag them along the seabed. It’s industrial fishing and they damage all of the kelp beds.” She said.

Sarah Gillings (right) and Zara Wilkins (left)

Near-shore trawling of the kind Ms Gillings describes was illegalised on the Sussex coast in 2019 to give local kelp beds a chance to regenerate, but the Sussex Wildlife Trust says this is just one step on the long road to recovery.

By depicting an animal which relies on the kelp forest to survive, Ms Gillings hopes to contribute to that recovery, raising awareness about the importance of kelp to the evnironment.

“Kelp sinks more carbon than the Amazon. It’s literally our solution for global warning. So we need to be rewilding and putting a stop to all this trawling.” She said.

The mural, which can be found near the foreshore office, also features a David Attenborough quote describing the ‘oasis of life’ supported by Sussex’s kelp forests. If all goes to plan, it should make locals aware of Kelp’s importance in the fight against global warming.

Sarah Gillings and Zara Wilkins

“People come up because it’s a nice seahorse, but then they can read the quote and realise it tells a story. Because, otherwise, that story is hidden. Under the sea, we don’t know what’s going on and that’s what these big fishing companies are exploiting.”

Ms Gillings said she is routinely inspired by the natural world, that her work has an environmentalist bent because the world itself is already so beautiful: “Painting insects and that sort of thing in large scale made me really passionate about the environment because you have to look at the structure of the actual creature and they’re just incredible but we take them all for granted. So now I’m getting much more involved in doing things that have a meaning or a link to a campaign.”

Alongside this mural, which she took on independently and for no pay, Ms Gillings is also the founder of U Can Spray, a charity which seeks to give underprivileged children a gateway into arts and creativity. To find out more about it, click here.