Fashion, make-up and marine ecology made for an unusual though highly effective combination on Tuesday night at a one-night exhibition at Will’s Brunch Café.
Dubbed “The Sea Project”, the exhibit featured photographs of submerged models that blended poses, costumes and make-up to create beautiful aesthetic representations of sea creatures.
The photos were the result of the collaborative work of make-up artists Dou Pothmolita (Apple Love), Peruvian photographer Christian Inga and his partner Marine Scheidegger, who has a background in fashion direction.
The concept was the brain child of Pothmolita, who, after creating “The Jungle Project” earlier this year, re-imagined the idea for marine conservation.
“The Jungle Project was a great success, but I realised that there was still so much to be told to young Cambodians about the true beauty of the nature that exists in their country,” she said.
The Plerng Kob Team, a youth art collective, and advocacy group Young Eco Ambassadors also provided support for the event which – beyond raising awareness of Cambodia’s rich marine ecology – was also meant to shine a spotlight on the recently proclaimed Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA) around the Koh Rong archipelago.
If successfully implemented, the MFMA, designed by the Fisheries Administration in consultation with event co-sponsors Flora and Fauna International (FFI), would protect the very species celebrated by the exhibition, among them seahorses, rabbit fish and giant clams.
Key to the goal of preserving delicate reef ecosystems is awareness, according to FFI’s project manager Kate West.
“People need to get excited about [marine ecology],” she said.
Currently overfishing, destructive fishing, unsustainable tourism practices and increased water pollution pose substantial threats to marine biodiversity in Cambodia. The MFMA, while not the same as a national park, is the first attempt at government-mandated marine conservation in the Kingdom.
While the exhibition at Will’s was a short-lived affair, West says that, thanks to the moveable installations, the photographs may go on display again sometime in the future.