Human shark sheds blood to show brutality of the shark finning industry in creative protest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am


Being the major hub of the world's shark fin trade, Hong Kong has seen its fair share of protests against shark finning - where the creatures are captured, impaled, have their fins cut off and are then thrown back into the ocean to die - but nothing has been as visually stunning as Alice Newstead's demonstration on Tuesday.

As part of cosmetic company Lush's campaign, Newstead dressed up as a shark - with skin painted blue and wearing a wrap around her legs - and hung herself on hooks that pierced the skin on her back.

'It hurts a little bit,' she said later, blood still dripping down her back, after being suspended in mid-air for 20 minutes in the courtyard of the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Shek Kip Mei. 'But it's nothing compared to what the sharks go through.'

Newstead was once a sales assistant with Lush in England before quitting to join an artistic group that specialises in this type of stunt. When Lush decided to run a pro-shark campaign, it was the perfect chance for the two sides to work together again.

Sally Siu, campaign manager for Lush, said this campaign was the toughest challenge yet.

'Over 73 million sharks are killed every year; 90 per cent of the world's shark population has already been wiped out,' Siu said.

Newstead, who has also performed the demonstration in England, said doing it in Hong Kong was important because 'Hong Kong is the centre of shark finning'.

Those who want to help the cause can go to any of the 12 Lush shops in Hong Kong and Macau and sign a pro-shark postcard, which will be sent to the Hong Kong government.

There's also a pro-shark photography exhibition at the Jockey Club arts centre that ends today.