HUANG DU

Curator of On Sharks & Humanity
Huang Du is an independent curator based in Beijing. He has published numerous critical articles and essays on contemporary art for magazines and catalogues internationally, and from 1988 to 2001 worked as an editor for Fine arts (Mei Shu) Magazine. His major curatorial projects include Art Advisor to the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2012 with Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator for the Chinese pavilion of the 26th Sao Paulo Biennale, Sao Paulo, 2004 and assistant curator for Chinese Pavilion of the 50th Venice Biennale, 2003. As a speaker and jury member, he is invited to participate in many important international art symposiums and art awards including the Chinese Contemporary Art Award, Credit Suisse Today Art Award 2010-2012 and Nissan Art Award 2013. Born in Shaanxi Province, China in 1965, Huang Du graduated in History of Art at Central academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing in 1988. During 1991 and 1992, he studied History of Art in Bologna University, Italy. In 2004 he received his Ph.D in Science of Fine Arts from CAFA, Beijing, China, and went on to complete his Post-Ph.D research in Academy of Fine Arts of Tsinghua University, Beijing, China in 2006.

FOREWORD

On Sharks & Humanity, Hong Kong, July, 2017
On Sharks & Humanity has been driven by the contributions and involvement of contemporary artists. Parkview Arts Action launched the initial phase of the international exhibition with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco back in 2014. The ideas and analysis of the exhibition promote shark protection and support the campaign against shark fin soup, while also addressing general issues such as overfishing and marine biodiversity. After its first showing in 2014, the exhibition moved to the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation in Moscow. Today, It is a great honour for On Sharks & Humanity to be hosted at the National Museum of China. In comparison with the two previous locations, the National Museum will have a greater number of artists and artworks, with a total of 34 artists and philanthropists with 35 artworks. The artworks have been selected and situated in accordance with the unique context of each location. On Sharks & Humanity features contributing artists from Austria, Germany, Monaco, Spain, US, and China (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan). It celebrates the works of philanthropists, poets, celebrities and actors, resulting in a multidisciplinary artistic experience. Showcasing a range of expressive artistic form – all aimed at inspiring action and the preservation of marine life – the exhibition tackles the issues surrounding shark conservation: social, economic, cultural and political science. Through a variety of mediums, including installation art, painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, poetry, video, documentary film and public advertisements, the artworks explore and analyse the symbiotic relationship between sharks/marine life and humans. The artists’ participation and motivations tie in directly with those of the Oceanographic Museum as well as other animal conservation organisations — all have the same goal: inspire action for the protection of sharks. Realised in different spaces and contexts, the artworks are characterised by a spectrum of expressions, concepts and techniques, reflecting diverse interpretations of these interrelated issues. The exhibition highlights the creativity, opinions and social responsibilities of all contributors, whose distinct style often takes an ironic and satirical view of man’s greed and cruelty. Part of a holistic experience, it encourages the audience to overcome a fear of the “unknown”, challenge prejudices and understand this mysterious creature and its crucial role in the marine ecosystem. In doing so, it compels the audience to turn from apathy to take action.
In 2014, in collaboration with WildAid and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Parkview Arts Action organized a contemporary art exhibition entitled “On Sharks & Humanity”. The aim of the exhibition was to raise awareness of the importance of shark protection and of the “Say No to Shark Fin” Campaign, as well as raise awareness of the consequences of over-fishing and of the importance of maintaining the ecological balance of marine life. The exhibition achieved its goal through a range of artistic activity, conceptual extension, rational analysis and visual expression. This large-scale international art exhibition began at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco (8 June 2014 to 8 March 2015), before moving on to the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation in Moscow, Russia (28 May 2015 to 28 June 2015) for the second leg of the tour. Subsequently, it travelled to the National Museum of China (20 August 2015 to 10 October 2015) and is currently exhibited at the Parkview Museum Singapore (9 March 2017 to 9 September 2017). As Hong Kong celebrates its 20th anniversary as a special administrative region of China, the exhibition will be presented at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. The exhibition in Hong Kong will be significant in light of the prevalent practice of shark hunting in many Southeast Asian countries, for shark fin consumption. As the economic and cultural hub of the region, Hong Kong undoubtedly plays an influential role in carrying the message to the public. Therefore, the exhibition aims to convey a strong message to the public, with the goal of reversing and changing the status quo. Given the traveling nature of the exhibition and the diverse cultural and linguistic contexts, “On Sharks and Humanity” invites the participation of local artists at each stop to actively participate in the exhibition so as to build up a connection with the local audience. With the exhibition’s stop in Hong Kong, we are honored to have invited three
artists from Hong Kong (Ho Siu Kee, Peggy Chan and William Tong) and two children artists (Marcus Wong and Alister Wong) also from Hong Kong to take part in the exhibition.The exhibition has received warm response and active participation from artists, social workers, poets, sports stars and actors from China, Singapore, Russia, Monaco, Germany, Spain and the United States. Together, they are part of a unique interdisciplinary artistic activity that uses art to raise questions to the society at large, and to bring attention to the social, cultural, biological and political issues related to sharks, as well as to awaken an awareness towards marine conservation. This is a participatory and multidimensional exhibition that integrates painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video, poetry,sociology, biology, documentary, and public service advertising into a new form of visual analysis from a cross-cultural and multidimensional perspective – it interprets and presents the coexistence of sharks and humans as well as sharks and marine life from various angles and in different ways. The exhibition fully embodies the ideals, beliefs and actions of the artists in their commitment towards protecting sharks. Based on the theme and context, they have provided their subjective interpretations regardless of concept, language or form, and created works that display a great visual tension and visual philosophy. These works have both made use of the richness of various media as well as presented the diversity of the theme. It reflects the artists’ own imagination and creativity, and also showcases their critical thinking and social responsibility. Their works are not only an allegory and criticism of human greed and cruelty, but they also advocate for and establish harmony between man and nature. The success of the event will help the public to better understand the hitherto “mysterious” relationship between sharks and humans in order to overcome mankind’s unknown fear of these magnificent creatures, and bring the audience face-to-face with the real and often-ignored reality of the impact every individual can make, so that they can reflect on their actions and make their own choices to do their part for the environment.
On Sharks & Humanity, Singapore, 9 March 2016 - 26 June 2017
Singapore, 9 March 2016 – Amidst great anticipation, The Parkview Group opens its first private museum in Singapore. Parkview Museum opens its doors with the global art exhibition ‘On Sharks and Humanity’, a thematic, travelling exhibition that addresses the practice of shark finning and the impact of human activity on the oceans. Conceived by Parkview Arts Action, the environmentally focused exhibition addresses the topics of shark protection and ocean conservation through a variety of art forms in a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach.
Exemplifying Parkview’s commitment to the arts and society, Parkview Arts Action is founded on the belief that art can play a significant role in initiating societal change. George Wong, Parkview Arts Action Founder and Hong Kong Parkview Group Executive Chairman shared, “This is a serious environmental issue that affects us all. Shark preservation is undoubtedly critical. Declining shark numbers pose a fundamental threat to the health of the world’s oceans. 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.” The exhibition features artists from Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany and the United States, The artworks explore and analyse the interdependent relationship between sharks, the ocean, and human beings, challenging prevailing prejudices surrounding this deeply feared creature and bringing to light the importance of sharks in the marine ecosystem. “This is one of the few exhibitions of its kind and it reflects the social responsibility of the artists, while demonstrating the relationship between art and society”, shares Huang Du, the curator of ‘On Sharks and Humanity’, “these artworks reflect the participants’ imagination, judgment, creativity and their sense of social duty” ‘On Sharks and Humanity’ is supported by leading international non-profit organisation WildAid, whose mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade and reduce the demand for wildlife products, such as shark fin. Prior to its first Southeast Asian stop in Singapore, the exhibition was previously showcased at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 2014 before travelling to Moscow and the National Museum of China in Beijing in 2015. ‘On Sharks and Humanity’ will be shown at The Parkview Museum until 26 June, 2017.  
On Sharks & Humanity, Beijing, 20 August 2015 - 12 October 2015
On Sharks & Humanity has been driven by the contributions and involvement of contemporary artists. Parkview Arts Action launched the initial phase of the international exhibition with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco back in 2014. The ideas and analysis of the exhibition promote shark protection and support the campaign against shark fin soup, while also addressing general issues such as overfishing and marine biodiversity. After its first showing in 2014, the exhibition moved to the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation in Moscow. Today, It is a great honour for On Sharks & Humanity to be hosted at the National Museum of China. In comparison with the two previous locations, the National Museum will have a greater number of artists and artworks, with a total of 34 artists and philanthropists with 35 artworks. The artworks have been selected and situated in accordance with the unique context of each location. On Sharks & Humanity features contributing artists from Austria, Germany, Monaco, Spain, US, and China (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan). It celebrates the works of philanthropists, poets, celebrities and actors, resulting in a multidisciplinary artistic experience. Showcasing a range of expressive artistic form – all aimed at inspiring action and the preservation of marine life – the exhibition tackles the issues surrounding shark conservation: social, economic, cultural and political science. Through a variety of mediums, including installation art, painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, poetry, video, documentary film and public advertisements, the artworks explore and analyse the symbiotic relationship between sharks/marine life and humans. The artists’ participation and motivations tie in directly with those of the Oceanographic Museum as well as other animal conservation organisations — all have the same goal: inspire action for the protection of sharks. Realised in different spaces and contexts, the artworks are characterised by a spectrum of expressions, concepts and techniques, reflecting diverse interpretations of these interrelated issues. The exhibition highlights the creativity, opinions and social responsibilities of all contributors, whose distinct style often takes an ironic and satirical view of man’s greed and cruelty. Part of a holistic experience, it encourages the audience to overcome a fear of the “unknown”, challenge prejudices and understand this mysterious creature and its crucial role in the marine ecosystem. In doing so, it compels the audience to turn from apathy to take action.
On Sharks & Humanity, Moscow, 28 May 2015 - 30 June 2015
This exhibition brings together recent works by ten contemporary Chinese artists exploring humanity’s charged relationship with sharks. These immensely varied works resonate in different ways: some set out to challenge the prevailing prejudices surrounding this deeply feared ‘killer’, while others focus directly on the barbarism and devastation caused by the shark finning industry. Individually and together we hope they draw attention to the many different aspects of this urgent environmental issue and fish species under threat from human activities. Shark preservation is undoubtedly critical (over 25% of the world’s sharks and rays are under threat of extinction) and their decline poses a fundamental threat to the health of the world’s oceans. But, as the title suggests, these works also provoke larger questions around the human role in environmental degradation, and the struggle we face in re-evaluating how we relate to the natural world and our impact on the planet’s ecosystem.
On Sharks & Humanity, Monaco, 8 June 2014 - 8 March 2015
Parkview Arts Action in collaboration with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and non-governmental organisation Wild Aid presents the exhibition titled On Sharks & Humanity. As part of the broader Shark Project launched by the Oceanographic Museum, On Sharks & Humanity uses art in its broadest sense to engage with and address social issues relating to shark conservation. These include a focused campaign to stop the consumption of shark fin soup, as well as the more general aim of promoting awareness of overfishing and the need to protect the balance of the marine ecosystem. This exhibition of Chinese contemporary art uses expressive visual language to reflect upon issues related to society, biology and political science. Aimed at raising awareness of the importance of safeguarding the environment, it is also designed to encourage visitors to take action through thought, dialogue, discussion and exchange. Reflecting the distinctive voice of Chinese contemporary art, this interdisciplinary exhibition brings together practitioners of visual art, sociology, poetry, advertising and political science, expressing their ideas through language, form, concept, performance and criticism. The conceptual approach of the exhibition echoes the idea of ‘Social Sculpture’ or of art’s potential to transform society elaborated by Joseph Beuys: in this case by having for its aim the common goal of shark conservation. A number of the artists have created site-specific displays which explicitly unite the theme of the exhibition On Sharks & Humanity with its context in the Oceanographic Museum and the Museum’s concurrent sensory scientific exhibition Sharks: a thrilling experience. The aim is to provide a multifaceted and vivid representation of the relationship between sharks and humans, and between sharks and other marine organisms. The concepts and the goals of the exhibition are in line with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco’s support, involvement and development of the shark protection movement and project. Through installations, sculpture, poetry, videos, and a variety of visual media, this exhibition reflects the humanist spirit of Chinese contemporary artists. This interdisciplinary exhibition will help visitors to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between humans and sharks. It will also encourage them to overcome a fear of the unknown, arising from a lack of knowledge and understanding of this mysterious creature. This exhibition represents a step forward in raising awareness of the crucial role played by sharks in the marine ecosystem, and towards the goal of promoting and protecting this precious animal.