In the spirit of ocean conservation the Japan-based non-profit organization, PangeaSeed, in collaboration with Spoke Art, hosted our inaugural transcontinental art exhibition, Sink or Swim, at the Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco from September 23 - 25, 2012. The exhibition featuring original works from 30 internationally renowned artists such as Dave Kinsey, Josh Keyes, Dan May, Jim Phillips and many more. This gathering of widely acclaimed artists from around the globe addressed one the biggest threats facing the health of world's oceans today -- the rapid and mass depletion of sharks.
Did you know that scientists estimate global fish stocks will be in full collapse by 2048 if current consumption and destructive fishing practices continue? But what's even more shocking is that the majority of the ocean's shark species could be extinct within the next 10-20 years.
With each minute that passes close to 200 sharks are killed, adding up to around 80 million deaths each year. A majority of these sharks are killed only for their fins to satisfy an unsustainable appetite for shark fin soup. In the cruel practice known as "finning," the shark is hooked and brought aboard the boat where its fins are then cut off and the still alive but limbless animal is tossed back into the sea. With no instruments to move, the helpless shark sinks to the ocean floor and eventually drowns.
Love them or fear them, sharks are essential if we are going to keep the oceans the sustainable resource that they should be. Older than the dinosaurs, for over 400 million years sharks have shaped and balanced the oceans. Since sharks are at the top of the food chain as an "apex predator" they play a vital role in ways average fish do not.
In virtually every part of the ocean sharks keep fish populations healthy and in proper balance. Already in areas where sharks have been over- fished we are seeing a change for the worse. Many species of sharks are now endangered, imagine the consequences for the oceans, and the people who depend on them for survival, if such an important animal is eliminated forever.
PangeaSeed is a Tokyo-based grassroots organization dedicated to educating and raising international awareness on the plight of sharks. Through volunteer activism and various mediums including art, music, film, and photography, PangeaSeed aims to create an open dialog with the global community to develop an understanding of the need to preserve and protect sharks and their habitat.
Sink or Swim is not only a reference to the cruel practice of finning but also a reference to our relationship with the oceans as a whole. As human activity is causing sea levels to rise and coral reefs to die, we see fish stocks rapidly disappearing. The global population must change course if we want future generations to experience the sea as we have. We are living at a crucial time in terms of sustaining the oceans. We may sink and fail, or we may find a way to succeed and swim.
In short, Sink or Swim is an SOS to the world that these issues facing the oceans need attention now more than ever. Following the success of Sink or Swim in Tokyo this past July, San Francisco is next in line to host this unique exhibition. Sink or Swim pays homage to the shark, this most important and beautiful of creatures, while critiquing their demise and offering hope for their future.
Sink or Swim ran in San Francisco from 23 ~ 25 September 2011. In support of proposed bill (AB376) to ban shark fin in California State, Sink or Swim offered the community new perspectives on this widely misunderstood and demonized animal. Also, in addition to raising funds to keep sharks afloat both in Japan and around the world PangeaSeed donated a percentage of the proceeds from Sink or Swim to organizations aiding animals affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Tre' L. Packard
PangeaSeed Managing Director
Tel: +81 (0)50-7500-6775
Spoke Art Gallery
816 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA
Music by Sweet Tooth Nelson
Special thanks to the Sink or Swim ~ San Francisco Supporter:
Carhartt - Work In Progress
BLK/MRKT - Visual Communication
American Decal Company
The Arbor Collective
Copyright PangeaSeed 2011