Ocean giants of Portugal

By Jake Cleaver, in Health & Environment, Renature · 19-03-2021 01:00:00 · 1 Comments

Can you help Oceanic® raise money to create empathy and awareness for the creatures of the deep blue?

You don’t often think about the ‘monsters of the deep’, and with little consequence most of the time, as it’s not as if a giant octopus will suddenly come running out at you when you go to the sweet shop because you haven’t been paying him enough attention lately (more on that later).

But this means that, unlike the creatures that live on land where they can easily be observed, studied, photographed and even painted - and therefore appreciated in all their glory, the beautiful creatures that live under the cover of the deep blue ocean live in a totally different world to us, and consequently, very few of us have the privilege of witnessing their unique and extraordinary beauty (and even for those of us lucky enough to do so, the encounters are often brief and it is difficult to take in all the colours, structures, textures and radiance that have been the work of 60 million years of evolution). And so, we don’t often think about them, and when we do, films tend to make us think of them as ‘monsters’ (like Jaws), and supermarkets show us pictures of them looking like ‘tasty food’, and as a result of all this they become remote and unfamiliar and it becomes difficult for us to empathise with them.

This is why Les Gallagher (the chap on the right you see in the picture running away from the photo of a giant octopus - that they placed at a local sweet shop as an April fools a few years ago) at Oceanic®, based on the island of Horta in the Azores, is launching a new initiative and is asking for help so that they can create and distribute a new poster called the “OCEAN GIANTS OF PORTUGAL” to every school in Portugal (+/- 3,000 schools for kids 10-17 years).

Les has been living in the Azores for more than 30 years, he navigates the high seas as a charter captain during the summer months, and works as a scientific illustrator for the rest of the year. To date, his work has been used to produce more than 150,000 marine life species posters, 13,000 marine life guide books and more than 1,700 fine art prints.

“People care about what they see”, says Les, and that’s why he is so passionate about creating these incredible artworks that strive to capture the natural beauty of the oceanic wildlife, and in that way, help increase the empathy of the public towards these mysterious and majestic marine animals.

In this latest venture he wants to start early, catching young minds’ attention while they are still in school. The poster he wants to create will feature the ‘oceans megafauna’, this includes whales, dolphins, sharks, the Leatherback turtle (the world’s largest turtle), the giant squid and the Cory’s shearwater (world’s largest shearwater - which is a seabird, in case, like me, you didn’t know).

Talking of the world’s largest, it will also include the largest animal ever (the Blue whale), the world’s largest toothed whale (Sperm whale), the world’s largest dolphin (Orca), the world’s largest bony fish (Ocean sunfish), the world’s largest billfish (Blue marlin), as well as the world’s largest tuna (the Bluefin tuna).

All in all, the proposed 68x98cm posters will feature 50 of these ‘ocean giants’, brought down to scale, of course, which is only practical as some of these creatures can get up to whopping 27 metres long. Some are known to live beyond 100 years old and dive down to depths of 1 km - and all those impressive details will be included next to the animals high quality full colour picture. This should serve to inspire some future marine biologists, or at the very least, increase the familiarity of kids to these remarkable and remote creatures. And, at a time where there’s mounting concerns about the oceans and the creatures that live there - creating this interest and empathy among the young is a vital investment in the future.

But for all this, Oceanic® needs help. Covid-19 has impacted their business considerably and they are asking for funds to help with the production and transportation of the posters. Their target is to raise €8,000 that will enable them to print and transport the posters to every school in Portugal before September.

If you are able to make a contribution then please go to their Patreon at www.patreon.com/oceanic_art or to find out more about Oceanic® and the initiative go to their website www.azores-oceanic.com/oceanic-quests

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This is excellent news because this project deserves all the support it can get. I am so concerned about the dangers to the oceans and marine life that I have a song entitled Where Does all The Plastic Go?, an ongoing project to inspire concerts under the Ocean Aid banner, and I am currently under contract to be writing a book entitled Earth Spirit: Saving Mother Ocean!

By Steve Andrews from Other on 23-03-2021 12:53
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