‘Fragile Beauty’, a photo exhibition at Khoja Mosque, Nairobi, offers a rare opportunity for Kenyans to engage with the "beauty, fragility and diversity" of marine life.
The photography is by Prince Hussain Aga Khan, with the choice of works inspired by the desire to educate local audiences on the need to protect marine life.
He essentially desires that these sceneries be kept pristine and their ecosystems preserved.
A photo of a marauding shark prowling the depths of the sea with a few smaller fish swimming just next to the shark’s slightly open jaws, dominate the scene in the huge portrait on one end of the gallery.
Some photographs show scenes of intriguing seabed ecosystems, vibrantly coloured microscopic sea creatures, and colonies of colourful coral polyps, all naturally cultivated over many years.
Then there are depictions of fish shoaling. Schools of brightly coloured fish, ranging from Bluestripe snappers, herrings, surgeonfish, and tuna to anchovies and many others, all in their natural environments.
Oceans and sea beds are probably the most artistic settings one would imagine, and hence the exhibition which is also quite enlightening.
The ocean and seabed ecosystems hold a vast trove of artistic treasures which, if well harnessed and used, would be an economy booster in their own sense, while still yet, telling stories of their own.
“Prince Hussain seeks to underscore the importance of environmental conservation, make people aware of the beauty that exists under our seas and what we could forever lose if we do not protect and conserve our oceans,” says Dr Azim Lakhani, Aga Khan Development Network’s (AKDN) Diplomatic Representative.
MESSAGE OF PROTECTION
According to him, the essence of the art exhibitions, which will also be held in Mombasa as well as Tanzania in the coming days, is to accentuate the message of protection of the seas and oceans.
Kenya’s coral reef and marine habitats are world renowned and the country earns up to $4 billion (Sh404.11 billion) annually from the ocean, highlighting the importance of their conservation.
According to Prince Hussain, nature, or at least the animals he photographs, can hardly fight back when their ecosystems are contaminated, and neither can poor communities inhabiting the area. However, both these entities will eventually pay the price for our mistake of not protecting and conserving the oceans.
The exhibition began on January 30 and runs until February 28.