Marine Life - Art and Conservation

Marine Life - Art and Conservation

Spring is an active time for lots of wildlife, and no less so for the rich life in our oceans…and with Earth Day falling on 22nd April, now is a great time to reflect on the beauty of our natural world, and the importance of protecting it.

Thankfully there are a great many organisations constantly campaigning to raise awareness. The charity MARINELife is dedicated to the conservation and safeguarding of the wildlife in our oceans, promoting through science and education. They say “Overfishing, pollution, by-catch, shipping, military activity, climate change and the unsustainable exploitation of once vast natural resources all pose growing threats to our oceans.”

Given its immense beauty, and the essential role of wildlife in maintaining the health of our planet, it is no surprise that wildlife - and marine life in particular - is a source of inspiration for a great many artists. 

The titular founder of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, was a prominent British artist as well as outspoken conservationist, and said: “Bringing conservation and environmental issues to the forefront of people’s minds in this busy, commercial world has always been a monumental task and one that I, through my art, have strived to achieve”. You may be familiar with his inaugural fund raising success, in which he auctioned off his piece Tiger Fire (1973) and raised £127,000 for Project Tiger - a wildlife conservation project launched by India’s first and only female Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in April 1973.

He is by no means the only artist to use their platform to support wildlife and charitable organisations...

Acclaimed wildlife sculptor, Adam Binder, uses his art to draw attention to the uncertain future that the world’s endangered species are facing, and helps raise funds to support the work of international conservation groups. In 2013, his prominent piece Boris - beautifully depicting a lone majestic polar bear looking up to the skies - was installed at London Zoo in a bid to symbolise the plight of these marine mammals, and to raise awareness for the threatened species. David Shepherd CBE FRSA even commented on the work at the time, saying  ”it is fitting that Adam Binder’s first monumental sculpture should be this beautiful polar bear, a species that is, quite literally, on thin ice. If Boris’ lonely vigil in London makes people stop and think, even for a minute, Adam will have achieved his aim.”

Contemporary artist Giles Ward was inspired by the life in our seas from a very early age, and is now renowned for exploring the intricate details, patterns and shifting colours of marine wildlife. His fascination has only grown over the years, and his eye-catching work has proved extremely popular. His enchantment with his chosen subject is abundantly clear in his bright and textured portrayals, and he is not alone in his fascination. He says “I have always painted, but I wanted a subject that people could connect with. Marine life seems to have resonated. I am inspired by the broader natural world and all the colours and textures you find.” Last year, he donated an original painting, Let me Swim, to the Rockfish Crab Festival Auction in order to raise funds for Devin Environment Foundation (DEF), stating “I hope by bringing focus to the art in nature it reminds all of us of the precious wonder of even the tiniest creatures in life and encourages us to respect and look after them.”

Talented collagist Sarah Jackson’s passion for the natural world was ignited when she moved to the Cornish coast as a child, along with her family. Her rural childhood environs, and the abundance of wildlife around her instilled in her an eco-conscious ideology, which influences her methods of creation as well as her subject matter. Her distinguishable collage technique involves using recycled magazines and paper to create highly textured and detailed depictions of animals and sealife. Her striking work has even earned her a nomination for the esteemed David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Award.

Head over to our online gallery to find a sea of sculpture, original paintings, and limited edition prints inspired by beautiful marine life, by artists including Adam Binder, Gies Ward, Sarah Jackson, Jenna Gearing, Fred Gordon, Hamish Mackie, Guy Allen, Aaminah Snowdon, Silvio Vigliaturo, Bev Horsley, and many more.

 

REFERENCES
https://www.marine-life.org.uk/
https://www.earthday.org/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Shepherd_(artist)
https://thinkwildlifefoundation.com/indra-gandhi-the-forgotten-wildlife-conservationist/
https://www.adambindersculptures.com/boris/
https://giles-ward.com/crab-festival/

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