The Quest for Living Seas

Tuesday 21st September 2010

Anna Kirk-Smith in the studioAnna Kirk-Smith in the studio

Artwork to raise awareness of the UK’s Living Seas goes on display

An installation by an artist who won The Wildlife Trusts’ Underwater Award, a unique bursary to fund diving lessons to explore life under the UK’s waves, today goes on display at The Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) Annual Exhibition in London.

Anna Kirk-Smith has produced a series of works inspired by her undersea experiences. Anna undertook dive training with support from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and completed her sea dives in the North Sea at Flamborough Head, Yorkshire, when she made sketches to form the basis for her works. It is hoped the final installation will raise awareness of UK marine life and what is being done to protect it.

Upon the opening of the exhibition, which officially runs from 22 September to 2 October, Kirk-Smith said:

“The scuba diving training was completed over five wet weeks, communing with rainbow trout and sturgeon in a flooded quarry before progressing onto the salty stuff. The sea dives were off Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire, a unique site known for its chalk reefs, kelp beds and partially submerged sea caves, which are inhabited by a diverse array of marine wildlife.

“Drawing underwater proved to be one of the easier aspects, armed as I was with neat, little waterproof notebooks and pencils, tied down to stop them floating away. A more tricky issue was the field of visibility, or lack of it: an all-pervading brown sandy haze or shimmering greenish weed-filled fog are attractive in their own special way, but not so easy to capture with an HB pencil!

“The detail, the closeness, and the intimacy of encounters with marine species in, what is after all their world, are very beautiful and strangely humbling. This experience has indeed changed my life and my intended course from here on.

“I am already booked in to further my training as a diver, I shall work towards being able to volunteer for the very worthy Seasearch dives and I cannot even begin to tell you here how many ideas for artworks, interpretations, scientific collaborations and methods of working underwater have been flooding forth.”

Kat Sanders, Marine Awareness & Research Officer for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said:

“We are thrilled with the works Anna has created, inspired by her experiences exploring the marine environment of our region. Their beauty illustrates perfectly why our work to create Living Seas around the UK is so crucial.

“Anna has always hoped to use and build on her diving skills to support Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas work long-term, and we look forward to working with her in the future.”

The Society of Wildlife Artists is accepting applications from artists for the 2015 Underwater Award until Friday 27 February 2015. You can download the application form here.

Tagged with: Swla