What was the inspiration behind your artwork?
Ever since I saw Rob Stewart’s documentary “Sharkwater” in my grade 7 science class, I’ve been fascinated by sharks, and super passionate about their conservation. From books to movies to scientific papers, I’ve wanted to get my hands on everything shark-related, which is why I loved Shark Week so much as a kid. As I grew up and learned to think more critically, however, I began to wonder whether the overall impact of Shark Week was positive, as they tend to sensationalize sharks and their interactions with humans. In the last few years especially, I’ve noticed more stunts with celebrities as opposed to research and conservation, as well as a lack of diversity in the scientists they choose to follow. This year I wanted to do my part to show people the beauty in sharks, because they really are so incredible, and spread science-based data in a way that’s more accessible through art and the use of social media.
What do you see as the similarity between science and art? Why is science-art important in today's society?
I think science and art are similar in that they’re both an attempt to explain the world around us. They’re also ways of communicating new ideas, whether that be in the form of experiments and reports, or through visual art, music, and film, and I think that’s why they work so well together. Science-art, and more broadly science-communication, is super important to society because science itself isn’t necessarily an accessible field, for a variety of reasons. That’s why it’s really important to me to be able to spread factual information to people who may not otherwise have access to it. I think that art lends itself nicely to scicomm because it provides an accessible medium for people to engage with.
Get to know the artist!
My name is Cara Poulsen and I recently graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies, with an emphasis on ecology and ecological restoration. I’ve always had a special interest in aquatic and marine environments, which lead me to do an undergrad thesis examining shortfin mako shark conservation practices in eastern Canada. In a year or two I’m hoping to do my master’s in marine biology, potentially focusing on shark conservation, and I’d love to end up doing marine conservation long term.