A Ray Hope Exhibition

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

The manta ray is a beautiful creature that is well loved by all. This graceful and peaceful fish, in its natural habitat, is one of the most spectacular sights in this wide ocean of ours. However, the manta ray is one of a number of species that are threatened by over-fishing. These species, including several species of sharks, are in danger of extinction and we need to start getting the word out about them to save their plight.

The collaborative duo of “olly and suzy” hopes to do exactly that. The British artists have taken part in more than 50 expeditions since 1993 to exotic locales from all over the earth to paint these predators and their prey at close proximity from their natural habitat. Their collaborative work has been exhibited in various galleries in New York, London and more.

The duo has decided to focus on manta rays and sharks as their next subject, and Soneva Fushi in the Maldives is proud to be their host as the government in the Maldives understood the importance of these species in attracting visitors. They are always on the lookout for ways to protect and preserve these graceful creatures.

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

olly and suzi will be at the Soneva Fushi from 8 to 19 July 2011, to work closely with Kate Wilson, the resort’s full time marine biologist. To them, this is an exciting opportunity not to be missed. They first worked underwater with whale sharks in 2000 in the northern Galapagos. The sight of these gentle, silent and majestic giants have inspired them ever since.

They are keen to understand the threats and challenges facing these creatures and their fragile aquatic habitat. The hope is that the local community and resident conservationists and biologists can share a thing or two about the challenges these two indicator species face.

Eva Shivdasani, co-founder of Soneva Fushi, is also a keen campaigner against the tragic loss of sharks due to shark fishings. Plenty of these species are butchered simply for their fins, which are highly prized in China and on some other Asian countries as a culinary delicacy. She has been actively driving campaigns to get as many restaurants around the world to stop serving shark fin soup and played a big part in getting the Maldives governments to agree to ban shark fishing.

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

Photo credit - Six Senses Soneva Fushi

“The big fight now is to save the whale shark and mantas. Unfortunately, shark fin soup has a horrible status in Asia, and it’s devastating for the shark population. But we are seeing signs of hope with the younger generation in Asia. 15 years ago we also worked hard on a ban on catching turtles. I’m so happy that olly & suzi are helping us raise awareness for the plights of such beautiful creatures. The whale sharks and mantas in particular are so majestic,” shared Eva, the Creative Director of Six Senses.

olly and suzi’s manta ray and shark art will be on display in 2012, with 30% of the sales to be given to Blue Marine Foundation. The foundation will be sponsored by Six Senses’ Maldivian Resorts for the next three years.

Check out the attractions of Cyprus holidays online. There are short cruises setting off from Cyprus on most days, so it is easy to explore exotic locations nearby.


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