Manama, Nov.2 (BNA): The Bahrain National Museum hosted the opening ceremony of the exhibition "The Living Sea", showcasing fascinating underwater photography by Prince Hussain Aga Khan and documentaries by Simon Piccoli, on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.
After its successful opening in Venice, Italy, the "The Living Sea" makes its second stop in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The opening ceremony was attended by Prince Hussain Aga Khan,H.E the President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa and Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage and; in addition to a number of Ministers and Ambassadors.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage, and Focused on Nature, the Swiss association created by Hussain Aga Khan to promote, through photography, awareness of environmental causes and to finance some of the best charities in the world for particular species and ecosystems of interest and marine biodiversity.
The bespoke exhibition features the work of acclaimed artists, photographer Prince Hussain Aga Khan and videographer Simone Piccoli, and brings an awe-inspiring outlook on the maritime biodiversity of Tonga, Mexico and Egypt to Bahraini audiences.
valued collaboration with Prince Hussain Aga Khan, Simone Piccoli and Focused on Nature reveals the commitment of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities towards environmental causes and the safeguard of maritime landscapes.
Prince Hussain Aga Khan, photographer and book author whose photography work has been exhibited worldwide, and Simone Piccoli, award-winning director of underwater documentaries, met in November 2014 on a dolphin expedition that Simone was guiding in Sataya, Red Sea.
Their passion for marine life took them on a fascinating journey to explore the hidden marvels of the deep sea in Egypt, where gigantic groups swim of dolphins with a long rostrum and where, nearby, the strange and peaceful dugong can be seen grazing. In the following years, Hussain and Simone set their sights on Vava’u, one of Tonga’s two main islands in whose deep waters, every summer, whales go to give birth.
A stunning adventure into the hidden wonders underwater
Through his exceptionable vivid pictures, Prince Hussain Aga Khan takes the visitors of the exhibition to the Kingdom of Tonga, where thousands of people from around the world come to watch and swim with humpback whales during the summer.
Indeed, these mammals, especially the adult humpback whales average 15 meters and weigh up to 40 tons. In Mexico, Hussain Aga Khan, accompanied by Simon Piccoli, visited the islands of the Revillagigedo, off the coast of Mexico.
These waters are known to host mega faunas proliferate, such as oceanic manta rays, silver, white-tipped, silky, hammerhead sharks and gigantic whale sharks: the largest fish in the sea that also feed only on plankton, in addition to the oceanic manta fish, whose wings are up to 7 meters.
On the other hand, the "The Living Sea" take visitors on a journey through the Red Sea, Egypt, namely Sataya and Elphinstone coral reefs. Indeed, Sataya is one of the world largest and most beautiful reefs called "Dolphin Reefs", a five- meters long coral reef where several pods of Long Snout Spinner Dolphins come every day to Sataya to rest and play.
The Elphinstone reef is located 12km offshore and about 30km from MarsaAlam, also is famous for being one of the few places on Earth where one can dive with the Hawksbill Turtles.
Awareness-raising activities aimed at protecting and preserving marine life
The "Living Sea" exhibition sheds light on the efforts to conserve marine life, and stresses the importance of protecting the biodiversity of marine organisms from human activities such as overfishing, sea transport, dumping toxic substances and waste into the sea and the ensuing danger of similar activities which leads to to the deterioration of the habitats and livelihood of these marine animals.
In a special section of the exhibition, there is important and detailed information about marine animal species, such as cetaceans, turtles, sharks, and finfish such as seals, sea lions, etc., and their endangered categories, with figures that reveal the significant decline in the numbers of these animals around the world during the past decades.
"Focused on Nature"
A Swiss association created by Prince Hussain Aga Khan to promote, through photography, awareness of environmental causes and to finance some of the best charities in the world for particular species and ecosystems of interest.
FON was born out of the idea that raising awareness and engaging the public with some environmental education might not suffice. Hence the creation of a fund to finance some of the best wildlife charities in the world for particular species and ecosystems of interest. Handpicked and vetted through a process of consultation with FON’s expert, committed advisers and contacts – or by literature review – organizations working on the conservation of sharks, cetaceans, mobulid rays, African elephants, rhinoceroses, rainforests and apes receive yearly donations.
Grantees include the Shark Conservation Fund and Fins Attached, the Manta Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and the Wild Dolphin Project, The Rainforest Trust and Re:wild, the Wildlife Conservation Society and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, as well as Oceana and the Jane Goodall Institute.