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Hong Kong art exhibit aims to deepen connection between people and sharks

An exhibition of contemporary art geared at raising awareness about the negative impact of shark finning has opened in Hong Kong this week.

"On Sharks and Humanity" showcases 36 works of sculpture, painting, film, photography and poetry at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

Artists' works express their unique perspectives on the relationship between humankind and the oceans, the individual, the city and nature, and reflect the concerning and disturbing future the oceans and sharks face.

Fins from up to 73 million sharks are used in shark fin soup each year.

The conservation-themed exhibit, which has also toured to Monaco, Moscow, Beijing and Singapore, is presented in partnership with WildAid and Hong Kong Parkview Arts Action.

"Declining shark numbers pose a fundamental threat to the health of the world's oceans," said Parkview Arts Action Founder George Wong. "Through the artists' varied interpretations, 'On Sharks and Humanity' can inform and confront audiences in ways that strike more directly into the human psyche than the abstract language of scientific debate," Wong said.

"WildAid is calling on the public to visit this important art exhibition and to stop buying and eating shark fin soup," said WildAid Hong Kong Campaigner Alex Hofford.

WildAid is petitioning Maxim's restaurants to drop shark fin, and staged a protest against the chain earlier this month.

"It is time for Hong Kong's big restaurant groups like Maxim's/Jardine's to act ethically and sustainably by phasing out all shark fin from their set menus – including unsustainable blue shark," Hofford said.

Nearly 60 transportation companies, including airlines and shipping lines, have banned all carriage of shark fins. WildAid is calling on FedEx, Hainan Airlines and United Airlines to follow suit.