Show Announcement: "Oceanic 31", a traveling exhibition around the U.K.

I have some exciting news that I’m so stoked to share! I’ve been asked to participate in The Shark Trust UK's upcoming traveling exhibition called “Oceanic 31”. Shark Trust UK’s goal is to create stronger conservation and fisheries management to protect the world's amazing sharks and rays in the ocean at risk from excessive fishing.

Between summer 2023 and Autumn 2024, “Oceanic 31”, an exhibition of the work of 31 global artists will go on tour around the United Kingdom to promote awareness and conservation around 31 species of oceanic Sharks and Rays (24 of which are on the endangered species list). There will be an online exhibition set up as well so if you’re not in the UK, you’ll still be able to see all 31 pieces online.

Oceanic 31 will begin its exhibition tour in Trebah Garden, near Falmouth in Cornwall. This leg of the tour will run from 23rd June - 15th July 2023. The rest of the tour dates and locations will be published but once the tour around the UK is done, the pieces will be auctioned off in 2024 and a book published to further share each work of art, the featured species and the artist behind it.

I’ve been asked to create an original artwork of the Sicklefin Devil Ray Mobula (also known as Chilean Devil Ray)! I’ve painted "Soaring Squadron" an original acrylic on paper of these beautiful and endangered creature that is the deepest diver of all the rays - known to dive down to 1.25 miles. 

"Soaring Squadron" painting of a group of Sickelfin Devil Rays by Grace Marquez

“Soaring Squadron” captures a group of Devil Rays elegantly “flying” through the water. Their repeated shapes are arranged similarly to how we’d see birds flying. The more viewers can connect with these creatures in some familiar way, the more they’re likely to take an interest. I wanted to make sure that their distinct olive brown/green coloration on their backs as well as the unique grey shading on their bellies. Rays are fascinating to me as being almost “alien” in appearance and in how they can be found in shallow surface waters and also at great depths.

The Sicklefin Devil Ray is one species that I WOULD LOVE to see in the wild as an avid scuba diver but has so far eluded me. The way it can leap out of the water and the way they hypnotically move together in “squadrons” is fascinating to me. It’s also on the endangered species list and it was important for me to bring some awareness to this ray.

I’ll update this with more dates and locations for the tour once they’ve been finalized but I’m thrilled to be part of this event and you're invited! If you’re interested in knowing more about Shark Trust you can check out! Each artist’s work is revealed weekly on the The Shark Trust's Instagram page so give them a follow to see all the good things they’re up to and for more tour dates.

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