Selfridges is easily one of my favourite places in London. Not because I am an obsessive shopper (although I do always walk out with a particularly expensive box of American cereal), but because the store is also something of a gallery, and I find comfort in the fact that they support issues and campaigns out of a desire to, and in their own chic way. So far this year, Selfridges windows have been raising awareness of Guerilla Gardening, and their ultralounge was the Oxfam Curiosity shop. Well now it’s the turn of the Ocean to take the limelight.
This installation which runs right through the store is called ‘Project Ocean‘ drawing attention to the plight of our seas and our sealife through a series of activities and exhibitions. All parts of our environment are important and work together, but the ocean is one that really speaks to me. I love scuba diving, and always feel comforted and humbled by the ocean. When I am diving, I always feel that I am somewhere where I shouldn’t be, and incredibly privileged to be able to observe the world under the sea and all the creatures that live there. But the Ocean has a bigger impact in our ‘on land’ life than you might think. It covers 72% of our planet, and creates over half of the oxygen that we breathe, without it, there would be no life on earth. It drives our weather systems, and flows energy and nutrients around the world. It baffles me that we are polluting the ocean with our waste and oil, and taking from it by over fishing.
The Selfridges installation runs until June 8th, and there is a variety of talks, events and other happenings. There are two exhibitions that really caught my eye.
Confiscated – a collection of Corals that were each confiscated at Heathrow Airport by the Border agency and that usually live in the Aquarium at London Zoo. Watching Corals when I scuba dive is one of my passions, they are so beautiful and far more sophisticated than you might think. They have a sense of smell and can swim when they are babies, they are an animal with tiny plants living inside them which act like solar batteries giving the coal energy, even though they are such tiny animals, they can build whole islands.
Washed Up – a fashion collection curated by Judith Clark celebrating fashion’s debt to the ocean. The exhibition’s landscape is created from dead coral which has been seized by British Customs, reminding us of the destruction of the oceans’s beauty and life resources. The different parts of the fashion exhibition reflect the changing nature of the Ocean’s inspiring depths such as; Texture, Structure & Geometry, Atlantis, and Octopus.