Drop 08: Sea of Redemption, Shezad Dawood

1,009 Expanded NFTs (NFTs + redeemable physical artwork). Sentimentite holders/allowlist/public mint prices: 0.08/0.12/0.15 ETH.


Sea of Redemption is a PFP project that is part organic fantasy world and part on-chain game populated by the Mermes, archaic sea animals whose kindness and power is absolute. Mermes surface from the ocean abyss hitching a ride into wallets on crypto-sea creatures. They can be held, traded, redeemed for physical artworks or burnt in groups to mint 1/1 Expanded NFTs.

Ancient sea creatures with ultra-contemporary presence, the Mermes are the result of watery crypto fission. There are 979 Mermes, 27 Special Mermes and 3 Super Special Mermes for a total of 1,009 Expanded NFTs.

“I think we project a lot of our lost innocence onto other species. We're so conflicted as a species that animals seem like a safe, cute space.” Shezad Dawood.

Merme with Seal, Special
Merme with Seal, Special
The path to redemption
The path to redemption
  1. Follow on Twitter for allowlist instructions

  2. Burn Species to mint Specials

  3. Redeem on Zien



The Redemption Wallet has the power to allowlist NFT projects and their respective communities for the Sea of Redemption drop and issue 1/1 Special and Super Special Mermes.


Degens with redemptive powers who can unlock allowlist access for their favourite NFT project community. Redegens are the first to respond to the call of the Redemption Wallet buried deep within the midnight zone of the ocean. Keep an eye on the Zien Twitter account to learn more.

The Formulas

Combinations of Mermes that can be cast back to the Redemption Wallet (burn-to-earn) in order to mint 1/30 Specials and Super Specials.

Merme Species

979 Mermes (Expanded NFTs) hitch a ride into participants wallets on one of ten sea creatures—including Whales, Dolphins, Octopus, Fish, and Plankton—an oceanic taxonomy borrowed from the food chain of bitcoin holders.

Merme Specials

Although starting as cellular slime moulds that pre-date animal evolution by 1.4 billion years, some Mermes have evolved into more advanced beings, even partaking in feudal society. These are the Specials and Super Specials. The 27 Special Mermes and 3 Super Special Mermes are unique 1/1 Expanded NFTs redeemable for museum-grade physical artworks, many of which are produced directly from the artist’s studio.

Expanded NFTs

All of the Mermes are Expanded NFTs, redeemable on-chain for counterpart physical artworks.

Octopus, Species
Octopus, Species

Goals and Intentions

  • To experiment with and expand the technical, conceptual and cultural possibilities of a PFP project.

  • Develop new ways of combining NFTs, physical collectibles and material artworks.

  • A PFP project with transcendental utility. As the climate implodes, global pandemics run rampant and biodiversity collapses we’re forced to confront old dualisms of the human versus non-human, natural versus the cultural, and organic versus synthetic. Shezad, Zien and Sea of Redemption suggest that it’s to the oceans that we must turn.

  • To offer salvation. Anyone around long enough in the NFT space has some degen sins they need to repent.

  • Develop and extend the pre-existing thinking and acclaimed work of an established contemporary artist to the blockchain for the first time.

  • To make a difference! 10% of all proceeds are donated to ocean research and conservation. Shezad is currently launching a grant around sea level rise adaptation and is aiming to fund a researcher for six months to produce a paper around nature based solutions. It’s possible to produce a peer reviewed paper that could be a game changer in a whole sector and have huge outsized impact on our survival.

Mermelith figurine (physical counterpart artwork of Orca, Whale and Humpback)
Mermelith figurine (physical counterpart artwork of Orca, Whale and Humpback)


The art

Aesthetic originality, variety and ambition within the loosely defined remits of a PFP project was the benchmark we set ourselves. Through many IRL and URL meetings we collated heaps of cultural and visual references, Shezad then produced tens of hand drawn sketches as a foundation for the long process of aesthetic development. Working with 3D artist Gabe Stones, these were then brought to digital life, alongside a constant process of feedback and refinement. In the final stages, we collaborated with acclaimed graphic designer Fraser Muggeridge, who added the graphic “frame” and other finishing touches. Fraser also created the Sea of Redemption logo.

Shezad Dawood, Sea of Redemption sketches
Shezad Dawood, Sea of Redemption sketches

A return to nature

“Sea of Redemption is trying to think as a speciesist, about how we dethrone the human. So that we see ourselves as part and parcel of the whole spectrum of nature. It feels like a major shift in consciousness is needed to transcend a whole spectrum of interconnected problems.” Shezad Dawood.

A sensitive diagnosis requires us to turn our attention back to the fundamental relationship we have, or rather do not have, with the natural world. What better vehicle than a PFP project: typically non-human creations that bring together community for action and hope, a kind of spirituality as cultural software capable of behavioural and political intervention.

PFPs as objects of worship

Over the course of building Sea of Redemption with Shezad we studied a plethora of research materials. Something that struck us early on, and that also proved to be a perfect bridge between PFPs and Shezad’s work, was the many connections between NFT PFP projects and objects of worship/votive offerings that proliferate in countless cultures past and present. These are objects and images that communities coalesce around in the hope of receiving something in return—which sounds a lot like the PFP projects we all love.

Produce a 280-character Tweet in the style of HP Lovecraft about a new NFT PFP project — “The ancient gods have returned and bestowed upon us a new form of worship: NFT PFPs. Behold the eldritch beauty of digital collectibles, where ownership is a pact with the Otherworldly. #NFT #Crypto #LovecraftianHorrors”

ChatGPT prompt and response.


In many ways, Sea of Redemption starts in 2015 with Shezad’s research for his ongoing magnum-opus, the Leviathan project, an epic about human and marine ecologies, where they meet, entwine and rupture. The Leviathan is a biblical sea monster that existed before God’s creation, framing the ocean as a site of pre-creation. For Sea of Redemption another set of gods, this time from H.P. Lovecraft, were also a key track of thinking, elder gods who live fathoms beneath the sea and come from a previous iteration of creation.

“Pre-creation leads to procreation and proliferation, and all these things started to echo with the idea of how NFTs are put out there. When you do a drop, it's a sort of procreative moment and then the NFTs proliferate, and then there's consumption. So this thinking became an interesting way to play on a whole logic of capital, which NFTs are acutely connected to.” Shezad Dawood.

Shezad has long had a deep interest in interest in religion, cults, the esoteric, and a Pantheistic view of humans, nature and spirituality. Not to mention a long-running obsession with oceans, believing that perhaps the final frontier is less space but rather the sea.

“Maybe there's an ocean of consciousness that exists before the world comes into being, before material reality. This is an interesting way to think about this relationship, or this access between, the digital and the material.” Shezad Dawood.

It was from these ideas of the oceans, of Gods and votive offerings, of crypto as contemporary religion, that Sea of Redemption began to geminate.

Sea of Redemption combines these ideas—from Shezad’s world, worship and sacrifice, oceans, NFTs—into a project that wants us to acknowledge our relationship to oceans and nature more generally. That also challenges our human-centric, Anthropocene worldview to demonstrate that we need to readjust the hierarchy of human and nature.

Both conceptually and visually, Sea of Redemption has drawn on a wide corpus of visual and conceptual references:

Moby Dick, Nkisi votive statues, Bataille’s The Story of the Eye, Siphonophore, Comme Des Garcons, Heru-ur, Sailor Moon, Netsuke, H. P. Lovecraft, Manga, Miyazaki, Westboro Baptist Church, CryptoDickbutts, Jean Painleve, The Old Man and the Sea, Édouard Glissant, Odilon Redon, The Octonauts, Gustave Moreau.

Whale, Species
Whale, Species


Ocean-crypto fantasy world, Expanded PFP project, a chance at redemption, and onchain game that transforms how artwork is collected. By making it possible to play your way up to commissioning a museum-quality physical artwork from an internationally-known contemporary artist, Zien moves beyond conventional, inaccessible art world structures to open up collector access to established contemporary art with Web3.

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