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To stay above the pull and run

Painting by Mea Duke showing partially submerged shipping containers with Maersk written on the side

Mea Duke ’14
22” x 26”, oil on canvas, 2017

Award-winning artist Mea Duke has a unique perspective. Her paintings, prints, and sculptures often depict marine-related subjects, such as container ships or life jackets.

For many of her paintings, like this one, she references open-source press photos documenting modern maritime disasters to call attention to the operational reality of the global shipping industry. Here, she depicts a sinking barge in the Mississippi River.

“Taking to the water,” says Duke, “is a deeply substantial part of our collective histories and modern existence. It embodies all of the challenges, dangers, triumphs, and absurdities that come with the territory.” •