Artist hung from hooks in shark fin campaign

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 June, 2011, 12:00am


British artist Alice Newstead shocked Hongkongers when she had her back pierced with fishhooks and then dangled her full body weight from them on Tuesday.

Newstead's one-time performance was part of an art show about shark finning at the Jockey Club Creative Art Centre in Shek Kip Mei. The show runs until June 19 and is put on by Lush cosmetics company along with Sharksavers and Tokyo's PangeaSeed shark conservation organisation.

The audience was repelled by the gruesome scene of blood trickling down the Briton's back, and her flesh stretched taut by the vicious-looking hooks.

'When you see the hooks in the shark, you don't think they're that big,' Newstead says. 'But the same hooks placed inside a human body shows the completely barbaric side to this act.'

Hong Kong is the world's biggest importer of shark fin. Sharks, as apex predators, are unable to reproduce at the rate of stock fish. Their fins are served in soup, where they add nothing to the flavour, and shark numbers are becoming quickly depleted.

Shark's fin soup's texture and flavour come from its other ingredients. Yet the fins remain a popular item on the menu at traditional banquets.

The shark fin trade is a billion-dollar industry which is decimating shark populations around the world.