Shanghai, a key stage for Tara

© Noémie Olive / Tara Expeditions Foundation

2 May 2018

The entire crew was on deck during this 15-day stopover rich in encounters and events. Education, scientific meetings, cocktails with partners, and, as a central piece of this stopover, an exhibition at the Cartier Foundation. Tara accomplished her missions on all fronts.

Shanghai, a city adapting to changes in the People’s Republic of China

Young Chinese adults face challenges as imposing as the skyscrapers of Pudong, Shanghai’s business district. Within this meritocratic society, people must be even more competitive than before. Though a communist country, school and care incur additional fees, there is no superannuation, and everyone has to make his own mark. However, the Chinese see the glass as half-full and are optimistic. “When we consider our standard of living 30 years ago, we realize we moved from misery to “everything is possible”, so we’re not going to complain. On the contrary, what’s happening to us is pretty amazing” , Liwu says, a young man who studied in France and came back to China to be an actor and is witnessing his country’s phenomenal growth. Here, nostalgia is rare. China is being transformed and the media are looking forward to the day when China will become the world’s biggest economic power.


Romain describes Tara’s various missions to an attentive audience © Noémie Olive / Tara Expeditions Foundation

The government wants to meet ecological challenges

Since the pollution peaks in 2013, the Chinese have been sensitive to environmental issues. Expatriates and Chinese people daily check applications on their phone to know the concentration of micro-particles and determine if they can go to the park with their children. The government promised to take measures to reduce pollution by providing more electric vehicles (petrol scooters have already been banned from large cities), building more ecological towers and supporting the north of the country to transition from coal to gas. China wants to continue to progress while adapting to the challenges of our time, including taking care of our planet.

From the continent to the ocean

Every day, the Taranauts presented the Tara Pacific expedition to Chinese and French children aged between 5 and 16. The crucial role of coral in preserving biodiversity was emphasized. 1,400 pupils visited the schooner and most classes were well prepared, thanks to their teachers and Tara Junior’s support. Many were already familiar with agnès b.’s role, the schooner’s history and the negative impact of plastic waste in the oceans.

In the afternoons, researchers from various institutes visited the scientific facilities aboard. In the evenings, Tara hosted cocktail receptions, where the crew served home-made appetizers and French dishes to long standing sponsors.

In the art world of art, Tara also has her place. The Cartier Foundation had reserved a space to screen the documentaries tracing the schooner’s 3 major missions: Tara Oceans, Tara Arctic and Tara Pacific. On the 5th floor of the Power Station of Arts (PSA), a former power plant transformed into the first Museum of Contemporary Art in China, an exhibition dedicated to Tara took place alongside great names in the contemporary art world such as Takeshi Kitano, Christian Boltanski, Raymond Depardon and Cai Guo-Qiang.

Noémie Olive

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