Kuala Lumpur, 24 September 2018 – United by a shared passion for saving sharks, artistic Malaysians of all walks of life have gathered together to produce a massive flood of jaw-dropping shark artworks for the recently concluded ‘Shark Hero and Friends’ Drawing Competition 2018. Today, Shark Savers Malaysia (SSMY) together with official conservation partner, WWF-Malaysia, proudly celebrates the most awesome artworks with an exclusive awards presentation ceremony in honour of the talented artists behind the winning masterpieces.
As part of the call to ‘Be A Shark Hero’ (BASH), a two year-long shark conservation advocacy campaign spearheaded by Shark Savers Malaysia (SSMY), ‘Shark Hero and Friends’ was launched in support of WWF-Malaysia’s ‘Wedding Without Fins’ campaign.
According to WWF’s Asian City Shark Fin Consumer Survey Report in 2015, as much as 85% of shark fin soup consumption in Malaysia can be traced to celebratory events such as weddings. Every single day, our shark friends are hunted and killed for their fins, simply to cater to the demand of serving shark fin soups, resulting in depleting shark populations and many species becoming endangered. ‘Wedding Without Fins’ hopes to raise awareness on the importance of renouncing shark fin soup consumption and staying fin-free for weddings and all festivities, because “when the buying stops, the killing can too”.
The ‘Shark Hero and Friends’ Drawing Competition 2018 was introduced as an artistic avenue of expression for saying no to shark fins. The competition ran from 23rd February to 13th May 2018 where waves upon waves of Malaysians of all ages rose to the challenge to put their best pen, brush, or mouse forward to create fin-tastic shark-themed artworks. The purpose of the ‘Shark Hero and Friends’ Drawing Competition 2018 is to encourage wedding couples, restaurants, and hotels to make good use of the artwork to send across a firm message to lend their support for shark conservation. The artworks will be extended to other collaterals usage by the campaign partners and media friends.
The main objective for having this competition is to encourage businesses and soon-to-be-married couples to use these winning artworks as design collaterals - such as placement cards for tables, menus, event backdrops, among others – for festive celebrations and weddings.
What’s more, as a reward for all their hard work and as recognition of their Great White creativity, the winning artists will get to take home a cool shark trophy, an award certificate, a colourful book of artworks by local artists, and other fan-sea prizes!
Out of 73 submissions, 14 of the most creative, inspiring and magnificent masterpieces – the Megalodon-winning entries, as one would say – was chosen and displayed in a hall of fame Drawing Exhibition throughout the month of September.
Official competition partner, Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA), who was also the appointed judging panel for the submitted artworks as well as the official venue sponsor for the ‘Shark Hero and Friends’ Drawing Exhibition and Awards Presentation 2018, is honoured for the chance to work together with Shark Savers Malaysia (SSMY) and WWF-Malaysia to bring together the beautiful world of visual art and humanitarian action.
The prize giving ceremony for the ‘Shark Hero and Friends’ Drawing Competition was held on 22 September 2018. The ceremony saw Dato’ Wong Pui Lam, Chairman of the MIA Board of Governors, Dr May Chan, Director of Finance of the MIA Board of Directors, Dr. Lok Lay Hong, Chief Executive Officer of MIA, Ms. Ooi Ai Eng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of MIA along with the winners of the competition, their family and friends graced the occasion with their attendance.
During the speech from Dato’ Wong Pui Lam, Chairman of the MIA Board of Governors, he mentioned that MIA was glad to give their full support to the shark conservation cause through this competition and exhibition as the participants have produced inspiring artworks which will create the positive effect advocated by this competition.
As shared by Chief Executive Officer of Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA), Dr. Lok Lay Hong, “The holistic education at MIA focuses not only on passing on aesthetic knowledge and skills to the young generation of today but also targets to instil humanistic values to all its students. Through this competition, MIA hopes to educate the public and to use art to raise awareness on the importance of wildlife conservation.”
Shark conservation is a long-term initiative; environmental non-governmental organizations’ effort is deficient in reducing threats of human impact on sharks and the marine ecosystem. Hence, WWF-Malaysia calls on both Malaysian businesses and consumers to do their part in transforming the market by reducing the availability and consumption of shark fin soups in wedding ceremonies.
Mr Abner Yap who is the Project Leader of Shark Hero & Friends is not a diver or marine biologist, but he is passionate about protecting the marine life. So, he thought of putting his experience as a creative illustrator to use by being actively involved in Shark Savers Malaysia and organised this competition. He believed that an artist is a creator who can change the world with their hands. Hence, as an artist or illustrator, we can volunteer to produce a lot of creative arts addressing pressing marine environmental issues, especially on shark conservation. The artworks extended beyond environmental problems by providing visual solutions identifying the eradication of key trouble issues.
There are two categories in the competition which are the Student Category (18 Years old or below) and Professional Category (19 Years old or above). The prizes are mainly sponsored by the Campaign Partner of ‘Shark Hero and Friends’, Shark Savers Malaysia, WWF-Malaysia, Zoobabie and Creative Volts.
The first prize winner for the Student Category is Lee Hew Thung, Thong Kuan Hwee was crowned first runner-up whilst Lee Yi Xin obtained second runner up. The Merit prize was awarded to Ang Kok Huai, Loh Yun Qi, Ang Xin Ying and Judges’ Choice Award is awarded to Tan Li Ren. In the Professional Category, the first prize winner is Pang Kha Men, first runner-up is Leong Wai Khong, second runner-up is Lee Xin Xian, Merit Prize winner is Lim Hui Ee, Lim Win Keong, Tay Sin Ying and Judge’s Choice Award is awarded to Chong Shu Ping.
The event also organised four sharing sessions in which one of them is a session by the Professional Category first prize winner Pang Kha Men. She mentioned that she hope to create more mural art at many places and also introduce her illustration to the public. She graduated with a Bachelor Degree of Fine Art, Communication Graphics from USM, Penang in 2016. After graduating, she worked as a graphic designer in a design company. In 2018, she decided to work as a full-time freelancer and startup a business called <創CHUANG EVENTATION>. She is currently teaching drawing, painting, handicrafts, Chinese calligraphy in a studio named Calligraphy Home Enterprise in Seremban. She is also working as a mural artist in Seremban.
Besides, Bulat Cat House brand owner, KLoh.E did a sharing session about herself on how she used her skill to draw her adopted cats to bring warmth to people’s heart. She is an illustrator for her own brand Bulat Cat House and also an animation lecturer at a local university. But, nothing could compare to her valuable task as a rescuer and fosterer for stray animals.
The last two sharing was done by Mr Abner Yap which covers the introduction on Creative Volts and Shark 101. Creative Volts is a platform for creative marketing art which also has the power to change the world! He mentioned that “If you are an artist, you could create a work that brings attention to shark conservation issues.” That is how he brought Creative Volts to be involved in Shark Savers Malaysia to create more awareness on the protection of sharks.