We would like to welcome the spellbinding new Zeitz MOCAA art museum to the V&A Waterfront by sharing some of the surrealist "art" from the sea. It is an honour to stand alongside you at South Africa's premiere destination.

Art is powerful - its colours, patterns and textures can inspire us to care about nature, or just add a smile to our day. But the question is, does our art come close to the beautiful "art" created by nature itself? You be the judge...

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” – Oscar Wilde

The beautiful red and white of the Bargibant's seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) is perfect camouflage for the gorgonian coral it inhabits. Photo by Geoff Spiby.
The Picasso triggerfish's (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) name comes from its resemblance to the brush strokes of legendary artist Pablo Picasso. Photo courtesy of Tony C Ward.

“It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality is more important than the feeling for pictures.” – Vincent Van Gogh

A juvenile emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator). Image courtesy of zsispeo.
The vivid, detail obscuring colours of the Coleman shrimp (Periclimenes colemani) remind us of some impressionist art. Photo by Geoff Spiby.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

A true surrealist image. A tiny nudibranch makes its way across an alien landscape. Photo by Geoff Spiby.

Above: An ocean-dwelling artist in action

“There is no better designer than nature.” – Alexander McQueen

Photo by Geoff Spiby.
Diatoms are tiny (this circle is just 2mm), but they are an important primary producer in our oceans. Courtesy of Microscopy UK.

“To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.” – Auguste Rodin

A juvenile brindle bass (Epinephelus lanceolatus). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The colourful filter-feeding gills of this polychaete worm have earned it the name "Christmas tree worm" (Spirobranchus giganteus). Photo courtesy of Armando Jenik.

“Choose only one master - Nature.” – Rembrandt

A royal starfish (Astropecten articulatus) from North America's eastern coast. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The poorly named pink hairy fairy squat lobster (Lauriea siagiani) is a tiny crustacean that lives inside barrel sponges around Indonesia. Photo by Geoff Spiby.

“There is more both of beauty and of raison d'etre in the works of nature, than in those of art.” – Aristotle

Photo by Geoff Spiby.
Beach sand made of coral fragments, enlarged x100. Award-winning photo by Dr David Maitland.

“Nature is more beautiful than art; and in a living creature freedom of movement makes nature more beautiful.” – Georges-Louis Buffon

The necklace sea star (Fromia monilis) found across the Indo-Pacific. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) from the reefs of Indonesia. Photo by Geoff Spiby.

“Things perfected by nature are better than those finished by art.” – Cicero

Photo by Geoff Spiby.
The emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) is so tiny that you could never see its colours with the naked eye. But, walking across the surface of a leopard sea cucumber (Bohadschia argus), it is a scene of pure surrealism. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

“Nature is the most beautiful thing we have. It's better than art because it's from the Creator.” – Olivia Newton-John

There are many more examples of nature's beauty - far more than we could ever list in a blog post!

Experience more of the amazing works of art in our oceans - read about our vividly coloured butterflyfishes, weird finless friends or fish with odd snouts. Better yet, visit the Two Oceans Aquarium and enter a world of aquatic masterpieces.

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