Art installation for sea turtle conservation

June 17, 2024 - 14:42
An art installation has been creating documenting the journey of sea turtles from birth to their return to lay eggs.

HÀ NỘI An art installation has been creating documenting the journey of sea turtles from birth to their return to lay eggs.

The exhibition named Phiêu (Drifting) features 1001 ceramic sea turtles handcrafted by artist Cao Thanh Thà.

Artist Cao Thanh Thà shares experiences volunteering in Côn Đảo National Park at the opening ceremony of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of IUCN

To mark World Sea Turtle Day on June 16, the exhibition is being held with the professional sponsor of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The works are displayed in six art installations, including "Beautiful Ocean - Real Space - Future", "Ocean Current", "Undercurrent", "Dawn - Twilight - Night", and "Return" as well as engaging activities. These installations describe the sea turtles' remarkable journey from birth, beginning their days of drifting along the currents and floating on the open sea, until their return to their birthplace.

From 2014 up to now, IUCN has organised volunteer programs to protect sea turtles in Côn Đảo National Parks, then expanded to other destinations such as Núi Chúa National Park and Hòn Cau Marine Reserve.

Volunteers assist rangers in the rescue and conservation work, especially during the time sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs.

The programme has been in operation for ten years.

As an installation artist, Thà has been associated with community art projects to protect the marine environment. Participating in the IUCN Volunteer Programme in 2018, Thà had the opportunity to directly engage in the rescue and conservation of sea turtles for 12 days and nights in Côn Đảo island.

These unique discoveries and experiences inspired Thà to create the art installation exhibition to contribute to the community efforts in sea turtle conservation, marine environment protection and biodiversity conservation for sustainable development.

Thà said: "According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the odds of baby turtles surviving to adulthood are 1 in 1,000. Therefore, at this exhibition, I select the number of 1001 turtles, creating 1,000 young turtles and only one female turtle.

"I want to raise public awareness about the characteristics and risk of extinction of sea turtles, thereby calling on everyone to join hands to protect this species, as well as the marine environment."

Artist Cao Thanh Thà created 1001 ceramic sea turtles by hand. Every turtle is distinctive in terms of colour and shape. VNS Photo Trần Khánh An

Phiêu also conveys a message of respect for the natural, free, independent, and distinctive features of each person in the society.

"I also employ eco-friendly ceramic materials to create 1,001 unique ceramic turtles. The distinctive features of turtles are further conveyed by the fact that no two of these 1,001 turtles are alike in shape or colour," Thà said.

Bùi Thị Thu Hiền, Marine and Coastal Programme Coordinator of IUCN in Việt Nam said: "I hope that through exhibitions and artistic activities, the public will readily access the knowledge and learn about sea turtles and the significance of efforts to conserve the marine environment and maintain biodiversity.

"Our goal is to spread awareness about the need to change environmental illiteracy."

Phiêu also marks the first time Việt Nam has had an art exhibition with a record number of 1,001 ceramic sea turtles.

Visitors can also read books about sea turtles, paint, and engage in clay sculpting and ceramic glazing as part of the display.

The exhibition runs until June 19 at 79 Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, Hà Nội. VNS

nature art