The Tara viewed by artists


Four artists choose a work that encapsulates ctheir time aboard the Tara during the Tara Oceans Expedition and explain the story behind it.

1. “This drawing (see figure 1) was done at a time when reports were coming in of Somalian pirates attacking ships in the sector adjoining ours. We were somewhere between Bombay and the Maldives, and hourly updates told us that the danger zone was extending towards us. We also learned that some of the attacks had been fatal for Pakistani fishermen. I remember that I wasn’t very reassured… During the night we scrutinized the horizon hoping we wouldn’t spot a couple of little silhouettes in the half-light, a sure indication that, ten minutes later, we would be at the mercy of those delightful gentlemen armed to the teeth… Hervé Bourmaud, the captain, had the good idea to get out of the area as quickly as possible. The Tara would have certainly made a fine prize for the pirates. Without this episode, my time aboard the Tara would have been a dream.”

2. The American artist Mara G. Haseltine poses next to her sculpture “La Bohème: Portrait of Today’s Oceans in Peril”. It shows a tintinnid plankton captured during her time aboard the Tara off the Chilean coast in February 2011. The artist remembers her reaction when she first saw the plankton through the microscope: “It was love at first sight! I was struck by how it resembled a little champagne glass fit for a mermaid!”

3. “It was a beautiful moment some-where between Dubrovnik and Athens: a very calm atmosphere and I like the graphic interplay of the Tara’s ropes and sails.”

4. “On the ship, brush, ink and water were the perfect tools for drawing fish, krill (small crustaceans) and other surprising animals. With a few days in the Galapagos, some days and nights in the rolling Pacific, and several moments of observation using the ship’s microscope—and not forgetting the research and patient explanations of my dear travelling companions—I had before me enough inspiration for a good few years to come.”


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