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Major exhibition 'On Sharks & Humanity' opens at Australian National Maritime Museum

by Michele Camilleri 21 Aug 2018 15:56 PDT 1 November 2018
On Sharks & Humanity exhibition © Australian National Maritime Museum

This summer the Australian National Maritime Museum will welcome the internationally-acclaimed contemporary art exhibition On Sharks & Humanity, featuring works by more than 30 artists from around the world – all united by the need to protect sharks.

Opening at the museum on 1 November 2018, On Sharks and Humanity includes large-scale indoor and outdoor installations, photography, paintings, drawings, performance, poetry, video and sculptures by artists from China, Singapore, Germany, United States and Australia.

Conceived by Chinese arts organisation Parkview Arts Action and curated by the internationally renowned curator Huang Du, the environmentally-focused exhibition addresses the issues of shark protection, ocean conservation and the harmful demands of shark fin products through a variety of art forms.

Co-chairs of Parkview Arts Action, Alex and Nancy Wong said that declining shark numbers, which posed a fundamental threat to the health of the world's oceans, had become the catalyst for the exhibition.

"This is a serious environmental issue that affects us all. Shark preservation is undoubtedly critical. Through the artists' varied interpretations, On Sharks and Humanity can inform and confront audiences in ways that strike more directly into the human psyche than the abstract language of scientific debate."

Australian National Maritime Museum Director and CEO, Kevin Sumption said the compelling artworks will be on display both in the museum galleries and outdoors along the museum's waterfront.

"The uniqueness and, in some cases the sheer size and scale of the artworks, are sure to impress visitors. Importantly, the exhibition will provoke thought and discussion not only on global environmental issues, but also on issues Australia faces such as the ecological balance of marine life and our own endangered shark species."

Mr Sumption said the Sydney exhibition will also include a new Australian dimension, incorporating works by Indigenous artists exploring sharks as totems and their role in informing cultural and ecological sustainability in water, land and species. Objects from the collection of prominent Australian shark experts Ron and Valerie Taylor will also be displayed.

The exhibition first opened at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 2014, before touring to Moscow, Beijing, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

On Sharks and Humanity is supported by leading international non-profit organisation WildAid, whose mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade and reduce the demand for wildlife products, such as shark fin. WildAid works to measurably raise awareness and concern about the impact of the consumption of shark fin soup on shark populations and marine biodiversity.

On Sharks and Humanity opens at the Australian National Maritime Museum on 1 November 2018 and will remain on display until 28 April 2019. Entry is FREE.

www.anmm.gov.au/sharks

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