Oceanic 31 is a brand new shark and ray art project from The Shark Trust. We are bringing together artists from a variety of backgrounds who are passionate about wildlife, conservation, and using art as a tool for positive change. The artists have kindly agreed to donate the pieces to our cause. Each artist has focused on one species of Oceanic Shark or Ray.
Earlier this year I was contacted by The Shark Trust about an ambitious new art project they were planning to launch at the 'For the Love of Sharks' event. It didn't take much convincing for me to be involved, sharks, art, conservation - what is not too love?
The artists were given the list of 31 Oceanic shark and ray species to choose from, of course, for me it had to be the basking shark. Whilst I could have chosen any of the incredible sharks off the list, I have a special connection to the basking shark after working with them for the past three years. Having the opportunity to be close to this species I have had the chance to study their intricate details, their movement and behaviour, making this shark an obvious choice for me. Donating an art work of this species, to work towards its conservation is a privilege.
© Rachel swimming alongside a basking shark, by Shane Wasik 2020
The original art work is an A1 archival ink work, created with a mix of pointillism techniques and line work, finished with a subtle wash of watercolour. It was first exhibited at the Royal Geographic Society in London with 16 other original art works all featuring different species of Oceanic shark and ray. The diversity of styles and pieces was incredible, from bronze sculptures to digital art and textile work it was an amazing celebration of both art and sharks. Getting the opportunity to meet some of my fellow artists was also a real highlight!
If you missed the exhibition don't worry as you will get another chance to see the original work and the addition of 14 new original pieces as the Shark Trust plans to tour this exhibition in 2023.
The full 31-piece exhibition will go on tour around the UK between Summer 2023 and Autumn 2024. Finally, the pieces will be raffled and auctioned off, with funds going towards the Big Shark Pledge. Limited edition prints will also be made available for some of the pieces. And we will be publishing a book for the project - Oceanic 31 - which will explore the pieces, the species and the artists behind the project.
Stay tuned for more updates on the exhibition, book release and limited edition print drop.