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In creating this digital painting, artist Xavier Cortada used a microscope to photograph shells of diatoms preserved in sedimentary core samples.

Diatoms harness the power of the sun to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. These single-celled aquatic organisms are studied by FIU scientists to research what was as they address environmental concerns in the century to come.

In this way, the print allows for a conceptual understanding of the past, specifically that of natural history.


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Xavier Cortada, Just Below the Surface: 1566 (Pedro Menendez de Aviles Lands on the North Bank of the Miami River)” archival ink on paper (signed, numbered, limited-edition print, edition of 5), 16” x 12”, 2015.

Dimensions 16 × 12 in
Paper Print Details

Hand signed and numbered by the artist, limited-edition, Paper, Printed with archival ink