Underwater Icon: An Artistic Tribute to the Manatee

Artist Angela Manno paints in the tradition of religious iconography. Her subjects? The manatee and other threatened species of wildlife

  • Lynne Warren, Art By Angela Manno
  • Footprint
  • Jul 04, 2023

PAINTING IN A TRADITION created in medieval monasteries to encourage the faithful to contemplate the divine, New York artist Angela Manno has produced a series of icons representing threatened species, including this West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), which she calls a “symbol of bliss and gentleness.” Manno learned that manatees in Florida are starving to death in alarming numbers as pollution destroys the aquatic grasses they rely on for food. Thinking of people as separate from nature “has led to ecological catastrophe,” she says. “My aim is to elevate nonhuman species to their rightful and equal place in the community of being.”

More from National Wildlife magazine and the National Wildlife Federation:

Manatee Emergency »
Blog: Manatees on the Move! »
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