POST EVENT PRESS RELEASE:    5th Celebrate the Sea Imagery Festival 2006

Celebrate the Sea OceanNEnvironment show floor

Valerie Taylor presenting the Gold medal to Tanya Paul - winner children painting competition

SStuart Ireland and Eric Bettens - wins the Best Music Adapation award

How inappropriate to call this planet 'Earth', when it is clearly 'Ocean'.
(Arthur C. Clarke)

We celebrate our National Day, we celebrate our birthday, we celebrate the New Year, we even have bank holiday, yet through the eons, none of us, kingdom, nation or country have ever take time to celebrate the sea ... the very essential element that keeps us all alive.  The Celebrate the Sea Festival conceptualised in 2002, recently staged its fifth festival from 21 to 23 April at Asian Dive Expo in Singapore with the aim to promote greater awareness of the beauty and the importance of our seas. Endorsed by the world underwater film festival - Antibes Festival Mondial de I’lmage Sous Marine and supported by statistic Celebrate the Sea 2006 Imagery Festival is the biggest international underwater imagery competition in the Asia Pacific. Over 3000 entries for the photographic, video and painting competitions comes from over 38 countries – Australia, Canada, Belgium, Germany, France, Indonesia, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Indonesia, Russian Republic, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland, Spain, New Zealand, Switzerland, USA, UK, Turkey and as close as Singapore and Malaysia   Entry to the photo gallery and selected seminars was free to the public during the dive exhibition but tickets for the award ceremony and an Unforgettable Evening at the Ink Bar and Lounge, Raffles Plaza Hotel was a complete sell out.  Huge crowds gathered to watch world renowned artist of the sea -

Ron Steven celebrating the sea with 20 school children in the “Say No To Shark Fins” competition. This year honour of Ambassador for Shark was awarded to Daren Kaye AQUINO from the Philippine and the Best Artist of Festival was Tanya Paul who traveled all the way from India to compete in the final.

The 2006 festival attracted record number international participants arriving from Holland, USA, Russia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, UK and Australia. Celebrities of the underwater imaging was also well represented with Rod Klein, John Boyle, Stuart Ireland, Ron and Valerie Taylor, Neville Coleman, Eric Cheng, Jason Heller, Eric Bettens, Scott Tuason, Larry Mckenna, Mathieu Meur, Micharl AW who were on site to share with both amateurs and professionals in photographic workshops and secrets of the sea that has taken them years to acquire.

From the cryptic habitats of nudibranchs to the annual sardine run in the shark infested waters of South Africa, the intricacies of the underwater world were revealed in seminars held by those that have spent their lives discovering them. Littering the ‘Celebrate the Sea’ floor were photographic prints, a leisurely stroll revealing stunning images and creative interpretations of underwater life.

With the overwhelming number of entries into the many competitions judged at the festival, praise was given these artists who have endeavored to capture the ever-changing beauty of the ocean in the hope of preserving it.

In the feature film category, heated debates by the judges resulted in a German triumph with Rolf Moltgenl taking home the Gold for Feature length documentary his fresh look at marine animal behavior in “Cleaner, Predator and Freeloader.”The Asian Geographic and OceanNEnvironment Gold environment medal was awarded to Alan Bromley’s “ Oasis of the Pacific – time is running out”. Controversies surround the judging of the Digital portfolio gallery with Giordano Cipriani of Italy taking Gold and Aaron Wong of Singapore taking the silver. As for the black and white, macro and wide angle prints which were on public display for the duration of the show, the Russians, Dutch and Italians dominated the categories with  VADIM ZVEREV taking home the gold for his exquisite composition of a his model and a sea turtle.

On a more serious note as in most Asian countries, it is not uncommon to find huge, lucrative Chinese restaurants with shark fin soup on the menu. This dish, for which, sharks are slaughtered and left to die on the ocean floor, is devoid of nutrients and gets its flavour from chicken stock. In essence the only thing it provides is a social standing. Each year the festival is used as a platform from which to promote the ‘Say No to Shark Fin’ campaign. By celebrating the sea, OceanNEnvironment strives to create an awareness and appreciation of the ocean’s glories in the hope that it will lead ultimately to preservation.

Wherever it is, it is sure to be as unforgettable as it was this year. OceanNEnvironment would like to thank all our sponsors, those who attended, those who competed, those who volunteered and most importantly those who celebrated the ocean with us. As for the rest of you –see you next year!