Tom Stevens Fine Art

Spratly & Hughs

Mixed Media Painting on Archival Gesso Board in a Black Metal Floater Frame.
This painting is part of my Ecological Landscape series.

China is claiming 90% of the South China Sea, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, saying it is historically Chinese maritime territory.

The Spratly Islands archipelago lies in the South China Sea off the coasts of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. There are no indigenous inhabitants. The archipelago has important fishing grounds and oil and natural gas reserves. The Spratly’s are important to the claimant nations in their attempts to establish international boundaries. Some of the islands have civilian settlements. All contain structures that are occupied by the military forces from Brunei, Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

These military groups have engaged in environmentally questionable activities such as island building. Coral habitats are threatened by sand dredging. The dredging boats, release sand particles that are too fine to be used which increases water turbidity.

An international court dismissed China’s claims that a large part of the South China Sea is theirs. In response China has sent military vessels near to disputed islands in the area. Satellite pictures such as I used for this painting show new buildings that can house fighter jets on some of the islands.

Clearly, China’s long-term goal is to control the area. Starting in 2014 Chinese artificial islands began appearing in places such as Hugh’s Reef, my source image.

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