18 de dezembro de 2019
Our “Living Sea”
On the 18thof December of 2019 the class 11ºA of Escola Secundária Luís de Freitas Branco, involved in the project "Escola Azul"participated in a school trip, within the scope of the English subject, to the National Museum of Natural History and Science to see a temporary exhibition entitled "The Living Sea: Photo-Essay by Hussain Aga Khan".
This exhibition features the photographs of the Prince Hussain Aga Khan, showing the biodiversity existent in our oceans and seas,as a point of departure to raise social awareness towards the beauty, complexity and fragility of the living sea, as well as the adversities it is undergoing.
Alongside the photos, Hussain Aga Khan also included many of his quotes that reflect his feelings about what he was photographing. One of the most impressive one was "This image is burned into my memory cells, ingrained and encrusted in the corners of my soul.", said by him while describing a group of dolphins that he photographed.
Besides this, a more interactive aspect of the exhibition, was the way it was assembled, putting the visitors in contact with the oceanic environment, by exhibiting the zoomed in pictures with background lighting, in a dark and blue environment with the floor covered in sand in order to simulate the seabed and make the experience more realistic and captivating. At a certainpoint of our visit the room’s floor got covered in trash taken from beaches, once more with the objective of alerting the population about the rough conditions our planet is going through.
Hussain Aga Khan was born in 1974 and at an early age he became interested in marine life,which further developed his keen interest in nature conservation. He started travelling frequently and began photographing fauna and flora on a trip to the Brazilian Amazon, in 1996. Since then, his photographs have been featured in multiple exhibitions around the world.
The exhibition features over 100 photos highlighting the beauty of the living sea, which reflects Prince Hussain’s ecological and environmental concerns and also his passion for wildlife and marine life. He emphasizes the necessity to protect, conserve, and manage our oceanic heritage and resources, saying that “What you see in the show represents nothing but frozen time. Incredible, fantastically joyous moments and encounters with miraculous creatures; some horrifically rare, and some more mischievous, playful, and intelligent than you could imagine.”
Through his pictures, the photographeralso intends to approach topics such as scientific, environmental, and social issues of contemporary global impact, such as the role of the oceans sustaining life on Earth, the climate crisis, nature conservation and species extinction, among others.
This exhibition was composed of two parts being this the first one. After seeing this first room, the students moved on to the next part of the exhibition which was displayed in another room with a big replica of a whale. In this room, there were lots of photos showing two whales, a mother and her child, which Prince Hussain followed for a long time, being able to appreciate their lovely relationship which he could shift into photographs. These ones as the previous, were as well followed by quotes expressing the photographer’s feelings for the moment depicted and the photo itself.
With this experience, the students were able to accomplish the intents the photographer had for this exhibition, opening their eyes and becoming more aware of the preciousness of the sea creatures that inhabit our planet as well as the urgency to protect it. As a class involved in the "Escola Azul" project, we also intend to raise awareness among all about these problematic issues, just like this exhibition does.
Let's take action while there is time, because the time is now!
Article by: António Oliveira, nº5; Filipa Rabaçal, nº15; 11ºA