Art Exhibit Review: "Portraits of Planet Ocean" at the Natural History Museum

maddie weyand-geise


Portraits of Planet Ocean Portraits of Planet Ocean

Another exceptionally poignant photograph shows a lone yellow fish hiding in a soda can being slowly overcome by the ocean – a brilliant juxtaposition of human wastefulness and aquatic innocence. As the exhibit points out, humans stubbornly refuse to alter their lifestyles to accommodate the rapidly degrading environment; we ignore the signs of global warming and continue to exploit the Earth for our short-term benefit. But as Brian Skerry reminds us, we are a part of a larger community. We are responsible for protecting creatures subjected to our outrageous behavior, and we cannot hope to have a future without establishing environmental security.

While the back room in which the exhibit was held occupied but a small section of the Natural History Museum, Portraits of Planet Ocean overpowered even the giant whale hanging nearby. Its wealth of visual stimulation and didactic text educate hordes of curious individuals, promoting a more environmentally conscious community. The lessons may appear overwhelming, but as Skerry notes, it is essential for audiences to witness the tragedy of our wastefulness. Despite that solemn note, the exhibit is an absolute treat to behold (if the children screaming “Nemo!” are any indication).