In Oceanic 31, The Shark Trust has brought together a group of artists who are passionate about sharks, conservation, and using art as a tool for positive change. Each of the 31 paintings, drawings, sculptures and digital media represents a species of shark or ray that lives in the open ocean. The exhibition can be visited at venues around the UK and can also be enjoyed virtually. So, however you choose to view Oceanic 31, you can immerse yourself in the wonderful world of sharks and rays. The exhibition is part of the Big Shark Pledge campaign.
2021 saw a review of the status of 31 oceanic shark and ray species. Of the 31 species reviewed, 24 are threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List. Some of these species are famous – like the great white or whaleshark. But others, like the pygmy longhorned devil ray – aren’t quite so well known. Featuring all 31 in this exhibition is a great way to showcase just how varied and amazing oceanic sharks and rays are.
Oceanic means relating to the high seas, aka, the open ocean. The species featured within Oceanic 31 all spend a large amount of time during their life in the open ocean. These are the international waters beyond country borders, outside of normal jurisdiction and, crucially, at heightened risk from overexploitation due to a lack of agreed management and/or enforcement of regulation.
What can you do?
The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious campaign. By adding your voice, we can build one of the biggest campaigning communities in the history of shark conservation. To put pressure on governments and fisheries. And make the positive changes required to safeguard these awesome sharks and rays. This will be a long-term collaborative and international effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And catalysing the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.
Paul Cox, Shark Trust CEO, said: “This exhibition gives us the opportunity to reach out to a new audience. And inspire more people with the wonderful sharks and rays on which our Big Shark Pledge campaign is based. We are immensely grateful to the 31 artists who have worked so hard to create these works and to Trebah Gardens for giving us an opportunity to bring them together for the first time.”
Oceanic 31 will be on display at Trebah Garden, near Falmouth, until 15 July 2023. The exhibition will then move to the Blue Planet Aquarium between Friday 25 August until Monday 4 September.
Oceanic 31 is planned to tour the UK over coming 18 months. Watch out for more dates and venues on the Shark Trust website. Unable to attend in person? The Shark Trust has launched a 360° virtual exhibition. No matter where you are in the world, you can experience the awe-inspiring artwork from the comfort of your own space.
Limited edition prints of some of the artwork are available to buy, and you can even buy a raffle ticket, or attend the final auction, to have the chance of owning an original! All profits will go towards the Shark Trust Big Shark Pledge campaign, working to protect the magnificent sharks and rays that swim in the high seas.