Today, the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) officially opens its new exhibition 'On Sharks & Humanity' to visitors, to open the summer season at the museum.

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.

On Sharks & Humanity is a global touring exhibition which started in 2014 at The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and then was presented at The Ekaterina Foundation (Moscow, 2015), The National Museum of China (Beijing 2015), The Parkview Museum Singapore (Singapore 2017) Hong Kong Maritime Museum (Hong Kong 2017) before reaching the Australian National Maritime Museum.

On Sharks & Humanity is culturally diverse and involves local artists at each venue to build connections with the local audience. It features works by more than 30 artists from China and around the world. It includes large-scale indoor and outdoor installations, photography, paintings, drawings, performance, poetry, video and sculptures by artists from China, Singapore, Germany, Austria and Australia.

"On Sharks & Humanity is a great example of the transformative power of art in changing people's attitudes to social issues," said Huang Du. "Art has this incredible ability to inspire activism in people. We hope that those who come and see this exhibition take home with them these important messages on shark protection."

Artist Wang Luyan who is one of China's leading conceptual artists, has created a bespoke installation for the Museum in Darling Harbour titled 'Upward Force on Downward Moving Objects and Downward Force on Upward Moving Objects'.

The installation, which is currently placed outdoors at both entrances to the Museum, reflects the concepts of paradox and contradiction by presenting with irony and sarcasm human greed and uncontrollable desire. With this complex system of paradox, the viewers experience and internalise the despair and the destruction that sharks and other marine species are facing because of human greed.

The work of prominent Chinese poet, Fan Xueyi, who has published her collection of poetry Childhood River, is featured alongside sculptures, paintings, photography, video and installations. Xueyi believes that we are all part of nature and cannot be separated from it. The poem 'I am part of you' illustrates the complex relationship between humans and sharks.

"The exhibition is going to surprise visitors and ignite their curiosity," said Kevin Sumption, CEO, ANMM. "The purpose of the exhibition is to challenge and engage those who come to see it and hopefully educate visitors on this issue of shark protection and conservation, which is particularly relevant to Australians."

On Sharks & 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 & Humanity opens today at the Australian National Maritime Museum and will remain on display until 2 June 2019. Entry is FREE.

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